An in depth good friend of Jamal Khashoggi informed a Turkish court docket on Tuesday that the killed Saudi journalist felt threatened by individuals near Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The most important court docket in Istanbul held a second listening to within the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects within the Washington Post columnist’s high-profile homicide — together with two former aides to the highly effective Saudi crown prince.
The 59-year-old was suffocated and dismembered inside the dominion’s Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018 after going inside to get paperwork for his marriage to Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
The homicide sparked a global outcry and tarnished the status of the oil-rich kingdom and the crown prince.
The Turkish trial is being held individually from a Saudi one which overturned 5 demise sentences issued after a closed-door listening to in September.
The Riyadh court docket as a substitute jailed eight unidentified individuals for phrases starting from seven to 20 years in what Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) each known as a “parody of justice”.
Turkish prosecutors have charged Saudi’s former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal court docket’s one-time media czar Saud al-Qahtani with orchestrating the homicide and giving direct orders to a Saudi hit group.
Ayman Nour, an Egyptian political dissident and longtime good friend of Khashoggi, informed the court docket that the journalist had described to him being personally threatened by the Saudi media czar.
“Jamal said he had been threatened by Qahtani and his family,” Turkish media quoted Nour as telling the court docket.
“Nour said Khashoggi had reported being threatened by Saud al-Qahtani since 2016,” Rebecca Vincent of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) individually tweeted from the courtroom.
“Khashoggi spoke of a phone call from Qahtani when he was living in Washington DC, saying he knew his kids and where they lived. Nour said Khashoggi was crying, which was unusual, and said he was afraid.”
Khashoggi’s fiancee Cengiz additionally attended Tuesday’s listening to, which was adjourned to March 4.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has mentioned the order to homicide Khashoggi got here from “the highest levels” of the Saudi authorities however has by no means immediately blamed Prince Mohammed.
Relations between the 2 international locations suffered within the wake of Khashoggi’s demise.
But Erdogan mentioned methods to reinforce ties with the prince’s ageing father King Salman on the eve of final weekend’s digital G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.
The Turkish trial is monitored carefully by human rights advocates.
Vincent mentioned the Istanbul court docket rejected RSF’s utility to turn out to be a civil get together within the Khashoggi’s case.
This would have given the Paris-based group broader entry to court docket paperwork.
“We were disappointed,” Vincent informed AFP, calling it “a missed opportunity to ensure robust international scrutiny.”
“But regardless we will continue to closely monitor this case and call for adherence to international standards,” she mentioned.
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