Man arrested in error over Khashoggi killing describes ‘zoo-like’ detention
A Saudi national who was mistakenly arrested over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and later released has compared his time in French custody with being an animal “in a zoo.”
In an interview with Saudi broadcaster Al-Ekhbariya TV, Khalid al-Otaibi said that after his arrest in France on Tuesday, he was kept in a glass-walled room with bad ventilation and was monitored by law enforcement.
“They were watching me like I was in a zoo,” he claimed.
Al-Otaibi, whose arrest at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, added that the place of detention was so “uncomfortable” that he was not able to sleep. He said the water provided to him was “undrinkable” and served “in a dirty glass,” and the use of mobile phones was prohibited.
He was released on Wednesday after his true identity was ascertained and he has since returned home to Saudi Arabia. Al-Otaibi noted that the Saudi embassy had provided him support and even found a “great French lawyer” to deal with his case.
Saudi dissident and columnist for The Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. The assassination is widely believed to have been ordered by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The royal has denied any involvement in the killing, which Riyadh has said was carried out by a group of rogue agents, who, according to the country’s statements, have since been punished.