Prosecutor files arrest warrants for crown prince's former aides in Khashoggi killing

Istanbul's chief prosecutor filed warrants for the arrest of two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Wednesday in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Reuters.

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Saudi court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and General Ahmed al-Asiri were both removed from their positions in the aftermath of Khashoggi's death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in early October.

Turkish officials have maintained that the crown prince was directly responsible for the killing, while Saudi Arabia has said he had no prior knowledge.

“The prosecution’s move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and Qahtani reflects the view that the Saudi authorities won’t take formal action against those individuals,” a Turkish official said, according to Reuters.

“The international community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia’s commitment to prosecute this heinous crime," the official added. "By extraditing all suspects to Turkey, where Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, the Saudi authorities could address those concerns.”

The Trump administration placed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials in response to the dissident journalist's death. Al-Qahtani was on that list, while al-Asiri was not.

The CIA reportedly concluded with high confidence that the crown prince ordered the killing, but the administration has denied a "smoking gun" connecting the two.

Many lawmakers have been unpersuaded by this argument, however. 

After a CIA briefing Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Tim Scott takes in .3 million in third quarter MORE (R-S.C.) said, “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw,” alluding to reports that Khashoggi was dismembered.