PARIS – A man suspected of having links to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday, according to two officials close to the investigation.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappears after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. His assassination sparked international outrage.
One of the officials said the Saudi-origin man was arrested Tuesday morning at the airport’s border control checkpoint after he presented his passport on a flight to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Officials said he was arrested on a warrant issued by Turkish authorities.
He said the man’s name is Khalid Alotabi and he is 33 years old.
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Khashoggi, 59, was a Saudi national working as a Washington Post columnist when he was taken to the consulate in Istanbul and killed by a team of intelligence officers with close ties to the crown prince. US officials have said his body was cut out with a bone saw, and the remains have never been found.
Having previously denied murder, the Saudi government changed course and claimed that Khashoggi was killed by accident as the team sought to forcibly extradite him. The Saudis said the team acted on its own and did not include the Crown Prince.
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In February, a long-awaited US intelligence report concluded that Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, the Crown Prince, had sanctioned the gruesome killing.
Khashoggi’s assassination horrified the world and put an end to the Crown Prince, who was wielding his image as a modernist to woo the world.
The prince, an ambitious 36-year-old who has rapidly consolidated power since his father became king in 2015, said in 2019 that he took “full responsibility” for the murder because it took place under his watch, but he refused to order.
Eight men were convicted in Saudi Arabia over the murder of Khashoggi in what international observers called a farce; Five received the death penalty. His sentence was reduced to 20 years after Khashoggi was allegedly pardoned by relatives.
Last year, Turkey also prosecuted 20 Saudi officials for murder in absentia.
Nancy Ing reported from Paris, Yulia Talmazan reported from London.
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