Suspect in Khashoggi murder arrested

A Saudi citizen suspected of involvement in the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey has been arrested in France, according to the BBC.

Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, 33, one of the 26 Saudi nationals wanted in the Khashoggi killing, was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday, the outlet reported, citing local French media.

Al-Otaibi was traveling under his own name and was due to board a flight back to Riyadh from Charles De Gaulle airport when he was arrested, The Guardian reported. He was put on the Interpol red list after Turkey issued an arrest warrant in his name.

ADVERTISEMENT

French media has reported that Al-Otaibi will appear before a judge later on Tuesday, where he will be given the choice of being flown to Turkey or contesting the arrest warrant and remaining in French custody until extradition proceedings take place. 

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Twitter that it was a case of "mistaken identity."

"The person arrested has nothing to do with the case in question," the ministry said.

The Foreign ministry also said the Kingdom's French embassy expected the "immediate release" of the citizen in question. 

"The Embassy would like to reaffirm that the Saudi judiciary has issued verdicts against all those who participated in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi and all of them are currently serving their sentence," the Foreign ministry added.

Otaibi was previously one of 17 individuals who were sanctioned by the U.S. for his alleged role in the killing of the journalist. He is reported to be a former member of the kingdom's royal guard and was reportedly present in the consulate in Istanbul on the day of Khashoggi's death, The Middle East Eye reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi.  These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions. The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi’s fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind,” former Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinConservatives are outraged that Sarah Bloom Raskin actually believes in capitalism Suspect in Khashoggi murder arrested The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules MORE said in 2018.

In October 2018, Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a Post columnist, went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to arrange a marriage license and was allegedly killed by a Saudi hit squad.

The Biden administration said in late February that the crown prince approved an operation to “capture or kill” Khashoggi. At the time, the U.S. unveiled visa restrictions and sanctions on individuals believed to be assigned to kill him. 

However, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in February it rejected completely “the negative, false and unacceptable” assessment of a U.S. intelligence report that found bin Salman had approved the killing of Khashoggi, Reuters reported.

A Turkish court is currently trying 26 Saudis in absentia for involvement in Khashoggi's death. The next hearing is set for Feb. 24, 2022.

Updated at 4:22 p.m.