Saudi FM says killers of Khashoggi will be prosecuted in kingdom
"On the issue of extradition, the individuals are Saudi nationals. They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said.
Saudi Arabia will prosecute the suspects in the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said Saturday after Turkey called for their extradition.
"On the issue of extradition, the individuals are Saudi nationals. They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia," Jubeir said at a regional defense forum in the Bahraini capital.
Jubeir's comments come the day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for the extradition of 18 Saudi nationals authorities say were involved in the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic killed in his country's consulate in Istanbul this month.
After denying knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts for nearly three weeks, Riyadh admitted Khashoggi's murder had been "premeditated" but denied the involvement of the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Addressing the mounting skepticism around the kingdom's involvement in the killing, Jubeir said that the global outcry and media focus on the killing of Khashoggi earlier this month has become "hysterical" as he urged the public to wait for the results of an investigation before ascribing blame to the kingdom's top leadership.
"This issue has become fairly hysterical," Jubeir said. "I think people have assigned blame on Saudi Arabia with such certainty before the investigation is complete."
"We will overcome it," Jubeir told the defense forum.
Jubeir said that the issue is being thoroughly investigated, adding that, "We will know the truth. We will hold those responsible accountable. And we will put in place mechanisms to ensure it doesn't happen again."
But he cautioned that "investigations take time."
Once an insider in Saudi royal circles, Khashoggi fell out of favor with the monarchy after Mohammed bin Salman was named heir to the throne last year.
The columnist went into self-imposed exile in the United States, where he wrote a column for The Washington Post, which was often critical of the crown prince.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to complete paperwork for his wedding to his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
Turkey alleges a 15-member hit squad was sent to Istanbul to kill the journalist, a onetime Saudi insider who became an outspoken critic of Crown Prince Mohammed in columns for The Washington Post. Erdoğan has said the three others in the group of 18 who have been detained in Saudi Arabia were consulate employees.
Five Saudi officials, including two who worked directly under the crown prince, have been relieved of their posts. King Salman has assigned his son, the crown prince, to oversee the restructuring of the kingdom's intelligence bodies in the aftermath of the killing.
Erdoğan said Friday that Turkey would reveal more evidence about the killing but was not in any rush to do so, indicating that Turkish authorities will methodically increase pressure on Saudi Arabia even as the kingdom floats conflicting statements in a vain and often clumsy attempt to end the crisis.
Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor will arrive in Turkey on Sunday as part of the investigation and will meet with Turkish counterparts, according to Erdoğan.