Saudi rejects Turkey call to extradite Khashoggi killers

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Slide 1 of 66: ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 26: Private company members use sewer inspection robot to inspect a sewer nearby Saudi consulate, as the waiting continues on the killing of Prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey on October 26, 2018. Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate. (Photo by Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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Riyadh Saturday dismissed Ankara’s calls to extradite 18 Saudis wanted for the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi, as Washington warned the crisis risked destabilising the Middle East.

“The individuals are Saudi nationals. They’re detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a regional defence forum in Bahrain.

He was responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who on Friday renewed his call for the 18 men to be extradited for trial in Turkey.

Khashoggi, 59, who had lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, vanished after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

Gruesome reports have alleged that he was murdered and his body dismembered by a team sent from Saudi Arabia to silence the Washington Post columnist, who had criticised Saudi’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

After weeks of denials, Riyadh has sought to draw a line under the crisis with an investigation.

Prince Mohammad, heir to the oil-rich nation’s throne, publicly denounced the murder as “repulsive”, while the Saudi prosecutor acknowledged for the first time this week that based on the evidence of a Turkish investigation the killing had been “premeditated”.

– ‘Undermining stability’ –

But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who was also addressing the Manama forum, warned that “the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all greatly”.

“Failure of any nation to adhere to international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most,” he stressed.

Saudi authorities have arrested 18 men wanted by Ankara following the international furore over Khashoggi’s murder, which was reportedly carried out in the consulate by a team which flew to Istanbul.

Five intelligence chiefs have been sacked, including two who were part of the crown prince’s inner circle.

Slide 3 of 66: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks during a gendarmerie and coast guard academy's graduation ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. The Saudi officials who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their Istanbul consulate must reveal the location of his body, Turkey's president said Friday in remarks that were sharply critical of the kingdom's handling of the case. Erdogan also said Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor will arrive in Turkey on Sunday. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

Slide 5 of 66: Protestors hold placards as they stage a protest outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Paris on Oct. 26, after the assasination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

Slide 10 of 66: People wearing masks attend the Stop The War Coalition protest against the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, war in Yemen and UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, Britain, Oct. 25.

Source: AFP

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