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Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor has called for the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Al-Mojeb told journalists in a rare press conference in Riyadh that Mr Khashoggi’s killers had set in motion plans for the killing on September 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
The prosecutor says the highest-level official behind the killing is Saudi former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri, who has been fired for ordering Mr Khashoggi’s forced return.
The prosecutor says 21 people are now in custody, with 11 indicted and referred to trial.
Turkey has blamed the highest ranks of power in Saudi Arabia for Mr Khashoggi’s brutal death, saying the kingdom sent an assassination squad for him.
The calls for the death penalty come after Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee said the ‘evil criminals and their cowardly political masters’ should be held to account for his death.
Hatice Cengiz said: ‘I believe that the Saudi regime knows where his body is.
‘They should answer my demand, for this is not only the demand of a fiancee, but a human and Islamic demand, from everyone, every nation.’
A Turkish prosecutor said that Mr Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate, as part of a premeditated killing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that recordings related to the killing of Mr Khashoggi had been passed on to the UK, US, Saudi Arabia and other powers.
Saudi Arabia had insisted for weeks after Mr Khashoggi disappeared that he had walked out of the consulate, before changing its account to say he died in a brawl.
Saudi officials describe the killing as a rogue operation carried out by Saudi agents who exceeded their authority.