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Saudi prosecutors seek death penalty for 5 suspects in Khashoggi murder case

Saudi prosecutors seek death penalty for 5 suspects in Khashoggi murder case
Eleven people charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been brought before a Saudi court for an initial hearing. Prosecutors have confirmed that they will seek the death penalty for five of the suspects.

The accused attended the hearing with their lawyers, but a full list of their names was not released to the public, the Associated Press reported, citing state media. Prosecutors revealed few details about the proceedings. They did acknowledge, though, that they had sent a letter to Turkey requesting evidence that Ankara has collected in the aftermath of the October 2 slaying of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The prosecutors also confirmed that they will seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects in the case – an intention that was first reported in November.

Saudi Arabia initially denied Khashoggi had been killed at its consulate, but the kingdom later backpedaled on its story after facing international backlash. However, Riyadh continues to maintain that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not aware of or played any role in the murder. Saudi Arabia’s attorney general said at the end of October that the Khashoggi’s murder appeared to have been premeditated – contradicting other government claims that the journalist had been killed accidentally during a scuffle with consulate staff.

Prosecutors previously disclosed that Saud al-Qahtani, a former top aide to the crown prince, met the team accused of killing the Saudi journalist and was under investigation.

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