Turkish prosecutors have filed a second indictment against six Saudi suspects over the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, according to Turkey’s state news agency.
A state news agency said on Monday that two of the suspects were facing charges carrying aggravated life jail sentences. The charges against the other four carry sentences of up to five years in jail.
According to the indictment, the two were consulate staff members and were part of the team that left Turkey after carrying out the murder of the Saudi journalist.
The other four suspects are reportedly accused of tampering with evidence by going to the crime scene immediately after the murder. They are also not in Turkey.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding to Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
The 59-year-old’s body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building and his remains have not been found.
Turkish prosecutors claim Saudi deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal court’s media adviser Saud al-Qahtani led the operation and gave orders to the Saudi hit team.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government but has never directly blamed MBS.
“The crown prince has denied ordering the killing but said he ultimately bears full responsibility as the kingdom’s de facto leader,” Erdogan said.
In September, a Saudi court overturned death sentences handed down to five defendants after a closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia last year, sentencing them to 20 years in prison instead.
“The Saudi prosecutor performed one more act today in this parody of justice,” Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said at the time. “But these verdicts carry no legal or moral legitimacy.”