Apr 7, 2022 - World

Turkey moves Khashoggi murder trial to Saudi Arabia

People holding signs with Jamal Khashoggi's face on them in Istanbul in October 2020.
Demonstrators holding signs with Jamal Khashoggi's face on them in Istanbul in October 2020. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

A Turkish court on Thursday suspended the trial in absentia of Saudi suspects accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and transferred it to Saudi Arabia, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: The transfer probably means the end of the trial of 26 Saudi nationals who were charged in the 2018 killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

  • The United States accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of approving the operation to kill Khashoggi, who was a contributor to the Washington Post and an outspoken critic of the prince.

The big picture: Turkey's decision to move the case comes as it faces an economic downturn and is seeking to repair its relationship with Saudi Arabia and other countries, per AP.

  • The trial was largely symbolic since Saudi Arabia refused to extradite the suspects and Turkish law does not allow convictions of people who have not testified, the Times reported.
  • A Saudi court sentenced eight nationals in 2020 over the killing in a trial that was widely criticized, including by an independent UN investigator.
  • Five of the convicted were ordered to serve a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one to serve 10 years, and two to serve seven years.
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