7th December, 2021
One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at Roissy airport near Paris on Tuesday as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh.
The arrest was immediately welcomed by Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz and a rights group.
“France should try him for his crime, or extradite him to a country able and willing to genuinely investigate and prosecute him as well as the person who gave the order to murder Jamal,” Cengiz said.
A police source named the man as Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia, who is mentioned in U.S and British sanctions lists as one of the killers, and was also on wanted lists in France.
A judicial source confirmed the arrest and said authorities were in the process of verifying his identity.
A Saudi official said those convicted of Khashoggi’s killing were currently serving their sentences in Saudi Arabia and that reports of the arrest of someone implicated in the crime were wrong and a case of mistaken identity.
The arrest came days after French President EmmanuelMacron held face-to-face talks in Saudi Arabia with de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Maacron became the first Western leader to visit the kingdom since Khashoggi’s murder.
Khashoggi, a critic of Prince Mohammed, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018. Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed.
His remains have not been found.
Al-Oaibi was arrested on the basis of a warrant issued by Turkey in 2019, the police source told Reuters, adding that French prosecutors will now begin proceedings for a potential extradition there.
Al-Otaibi, who is mentioned on UK and U.S. sanctions lists as being involved in Khashoggi’s murder, was also on a French wanted list.
Al-Otaibi, born in 1988, “was involved in the concealment of evidence at the Saudi General Consul’s residence following the killing,” one report said, while a U.S. department of Treasury report said: “The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”