Khashoggi murder: Turkey orders arrest of senior Saudi officials

Istanbul: The office of Istanbul’s prosecutor on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for two Saudi officials for their alleged links to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey.

The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) reported that the two officials were Saud al-Qahtani and General Ahmed al-Asiri who are said to be close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The arrest warrant said these two senior officials were among those responsible for planning the murder, according to TRT.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, was killed inside the consulate after he went there on October to collect documents in order to marry his Turkish fiancée.

The Turkish semi-public agency Anadolu reported that the prosecutor’s office had requested for the arrest warrant for Qahtani and Asiri and a court in Istanbul confirmed it.

Both Qahtani, one of the advisors to the Saudi Crown Prince, and Asiri, Deputy Director of the Saudi secret services, were dismissed from their positions in October over the scandal caused by Khashoggi’s murder.

The US administration imposed sanctions on Qahtani in November, accusing him of being part of the planning and execution of the operation that led to the killing of Khashoggi.

Asiri, however, was not on the list of 17 people sanctioned by Washington.

A team of 15 Saudi agents, allegedly sent by Qahtani, assassinated Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Later, Riyadh acknowledged the homicide but didn’t clarify what happened to the corpse.

The Turkish prosecutor’s office claimed to have evidence that Khashoggi was suffocated and his body was butchered. But it has yet to find a clue for allowing investigators to locate the remains.