Together for Justice expresses deep regrets over the Turkish decision to halt the trial of Saudi suspects over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and to transfer the case to Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, April 7, 2022, a Turkish court has approved the transfer of the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects from Istanbul to Riyadh.
Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Oct. 2, 2018 when he entered to retrieve documents for his upcoming marriage with a Turkish national, Hatice Cengiz.
Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul four years ago raised a global outcry and put pressure on Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, his killers are still free.
In 2020, Saudi Arabia jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for Khashoggi’s murder. None of the defendants was named, in what rights groups described as a sham trial, while Ankra said it did not live up to expectations.
A US intelligence report released a year ago, February 2021, said Prince Mohammed had approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi. However, US President Joe Biden has declined to punish the crown prince.
The Turkish court’s decision came after the prosecutor called last week for the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects to be transferred from Istanbul to Riyadh. The prosecutor said the case was “dragging” because, as the defendants were foreigners, the court’s orders could not be carried out.
Turning the case over to the kingdom raises more concern that it would lead to a cover-up of the killing, especially that reports issued last year affirmed that the eight convicted persons were seen free and not serving their prison sentences.
We call on the free world and all human rights organisations and activists to unite their efforts to pressure Khashoggi’s killers and bring them to justice. Impunity will simply lead to further cruel crimes.