A close pal of Jamal Khashoggi told a Turkish court on Tuesday that the killed Saudi journalist felt threatened by people today close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The major court in Istanbul held a second hearing in the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects in the Washington Post columnist’s higher-profile murder — like two former aides to the effective Saudi crown prince.
The 59-year-old was suffocated and dismembered inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October two, 2018 immediately after going inside to get documents for his marriage to Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
The murder sparked an international outcry and tarnished the reputation of the oil-wealthy kingdom and the crown prince.
The Turkish trial is becoming held separately from a Saudi one particular that overturned 5 death sentences issued immediately after a closed-door hearing in September.
The Riyadh court rather jailed eight unidentified people today for terms ranging from seven to 20 years in what Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) each named a “parody of justice”.
Turkish prosecutors have charged Saudi’s former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal court’s one particular-time media czar Saud al-Qahtani with orchestrating the murder and providing direct orders to a Saudi hit group.
Ayman Nour, an Egyptian political dissident and longtime pal of Khashoggi, told the court that the journalist had described to him becoming 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.
“Nour said Khashoggi had reported being threatened by Saud al-Qahtani since 2016,” Rebecca Vincent of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) separately 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 also attended Tuesday’s hearing, which was adjourned to March four.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has mentioned the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government but has by no means straight blamed Prince Mohammed.
Relations involving the two nations suffered in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.
But Erdogan discussed methods to improve ties with the prince’s ageing father King Salman on the eve of final weekend’s virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.
The Turkish trial is monitored closely by human rights advocates.
Vincent mentioned the Istanbul court rejected RSF’s application to come to be a civil celebration in the Khashoggi’s case.
This would have offered the Paris-primarily based group broader access to court documents.
“We were disappointed,” Vincent told 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.