MOSCOW: An Istanbul court on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for two figures close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over their alleged involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, media reported.
According to the Anadolu news agency, the decision followed an appeal made by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to issue arrest warrants for Saud al-Qahtani, a former aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Ahmed al-Asiri, former Saudi deputy intelligence chief.
After the journalist’s murder, al-Qahtani and al-Asiri were dismissed by a royal decree along with three other Saudi officials.
“The prosecution’s move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and al-Qahtani reflects the view that Saudi authorities won’t take formal action against those individuals,” one of the Turkish officials told the news outlet.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, known for his criticism of Saudi policies, went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s acknowledgment that the journalist had been killed inside the consulate came after two weeks of denials and growing pressure from Western allies to provide explanations.
On October 26, the Saudi prosecutor general acknowledged that the journalist’s murder was premeditated. However, Riyadh maintains that the killing had nothing to do with the Saudi royal family, describing it as a rogue operation.
The prosecutor’s office later stated that 21 people had been detained in connection with the Khashoggi case. The prosecutor’s office demanded the death penalty for five participants, while the rest will be punished according to Sharia law.