Saudi Arabia accuses France of wrongfully arresting the man they claim detained after police claimed that they had taken a member of the royal Guard into custody, who was suspected to be part of the “hit squad” which murdered Jamal Khashoggi.
A man carrying a document identifying him to be Khalid Al-Otaibi was pulled over at Paris’s main Airport on Tuesday. The passport identified him as Khalid Al-Otaibi. This is one of 26 men currently being held in absentia in Turkey for killing Khashoggi at Istanbul’s Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
However, the Saudi Embassy in France issued a statement that claimed officers arrested the wrong person and demanded his immediate release.
Al-Otaibi, which is common in Saudi Arabian names, is the suspect France believes it arrested. He is in Saudi Arabia currently being held in prison according to a security source.
French police have arrested Khalid Al-Otaibi, who was seen at Istanbul’s airport shortly before the murder along with other suspects.
Pictured: A Saudi passport was used by the same man to enter the USA on three trips that coincided with Saudi royals
French officials are currently trying to verify the identity of this man. They claim he was detained after a red Interpol notice from Turkey was issued to him as he passed through passport control prior to boarding a plane to Riyadh.
Istanbul: Twenty-six Saudis face trial for the murder of their sons in absentia. The case began in October 2020.
Turkey opened trials in October for 26 Saudis charged with involvement in the murder. However, none of these men have yet been seen in court.
Alotaibi was also among 17 individuals that the US Treasury designated to be subject to sanctions for the 2018 murder.
Khashoggi was an ex-member of the Saudi royal family who became a dissident. He was US citizen, and was working as a columnist for the Washington Post when he was murdered.
International outrage over the murder continued to echo, as intelligence agencies from Western countries accuse Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, of ordering the execution.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the man could be held for as long as 48 hours to allow further verifications of his identity to take place.
If he is confirmed to be the member of assassination squad, he will face French prosecutors.
French police have arrested one of the suspect killers of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist.
Khashoggi was seen at the Saudi consulate Istanbul the day before his assassination
Reporters Without Borders, a media rights organization (RSF), called Tuesday’s arrest “excellent news” and stated that it had filed a complaint to Paris prosecutors against Alotaibi in October 2019 for murder and torture.
RSF stated that it kept the matter ‘completely confidential’ in an effort to increase the likelihood of him being arrested during his visit to France. RSF stated that it will now activate the case.
Saudi Arabia claims that its legal proceedings into Khashoggi murder have been concluded and it is not necessary to make any more arrests.
According to the Paris Embassy, ‘the Saudi judiciary issued verdicts against all persons who were involved in the atrocious murder of Jamal Khashoggi. They all are currently serving their sentences.
Five death sentences were overturned by a Saudi court after a closed door trial in Saudi Arabia. The accused was sentenced to 20 years prison in September 2020.
Khashoggi was a famous Saudi journalist who had been living in self-exile in The Washington Post. He entered The Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to apply for paperwork to wed his Turkish bride on October 2, 2018.
Officials from the US and Turkey claim that a Saudi hit team was waiting to strangle him. The body has never been recovered.
While he had been once close to Saudi royalty, the journalist before his death wrote critical articles in The Washington Post about Mohammed bin Salman and his policies.
The Tuesday arrest follows days of French President Emmanuel Macron defending his decision to include Saudi Arabia on a Gulf state tour. He said that he did not forget about Khashoggi’s case.
Recep Tayyip Turkey Erdogan stated that Khashoggi’s murder order came from the highest levels of Saudi Arabia.
Erdogan did not directly accuse Prince Mohammed, and recent signs have indicated a warming between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
There have been some signs, after decades of tensions, following the 2016 failed coup attempt. These include signs of a thaw with Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s largest ally, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed visiting Turkey last year.
Khashoggi’s widow Hatice, who was outside the consulate at the time of the crime, claimed that the US failed to hold Saudi Arabia responsible.