Saudi admits journalist Khashoggi dismembered in consulate

Khashoggi’s killing has plunged Saudi Arabia into its worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11 attacks

Khashoggi’s killing has plunged Saudi Arabia into its worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11 attacks

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor on Thursday exonerated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, accusing two senior officials of giving the orders.

According to a press statement read by the deputy Saudi public prosecutor and spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan, 11 defendants in the Khashoggi trial have been convicted in relation to the murder, which took place on 2 October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A spokesman for the public prosecutor's office denied Prince Mohammed had any knowledge of the killing in response to a journalist's question.

A former deputy chief of the kingdom's intelligence service was the one who ordered the formation of a squad sent to Turkey in an attempt to convince Khashoggi to return to his homeland, the official said.

Rumours have swirled about the cause of death of Khashoggi, with Saudi Arabia initially claiming he died in a fight.

Khashoggi's killing has provoked global outrage but little concrete action by world powers against Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and a supporter of Washington's plans to contain Iranian influence across the Middle East.

The prosecutor said 21 people are now in custody, with 11 indicted and referred to trial.

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Turkey has said he was murdered and his body was cut into pieces.

He added that Jamal Khashoggi's body was dismembered and then transferred outside the Saudi consulate building.

Meanwhile, the prosecution announced that top MBS aide Saud Al-Qahtani had been banned from travelling and was also under investigation.

He was sacked for allegedly ordering Khashoggi to return to the consulate.

Critics of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman and Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, believe it is highly unlikely he would not have been aware of the operation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from "the highest levels" of the Saudi government.

Shaalan also went on to say that Saudi investigators had requested that Turkey submit all original recordings and evidence related to the case, but that it has yet to fulfil that request.

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