Turkey will open the trial in absentia of the 20 Saudis on Friday that it accuses of the 2018 assassination in Istanbul of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, his Turkish fiancée told AFP on Tuesday 30 June. The trial will begin in the main court in Istanbul at 10 a.m. local time on Friday, Hatice Cengiz told AFP. "I will also be there," she said. The opening of the trial on Friday has not been officially confirmed.

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, a detractor of power from the Saudi royal family after being close to him and a collaborator with the Washington Post, was murdered and then cut into pieces on October 2, 2018 inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul where he went to get a document, according to Turkey. The remains of the victim were never discovered.

Close to the Crown Prince

Turkish prosecutors accuse former deputy chief of intelligence services, General Ahmed al-Assiri, and former royal court adviser Saoud al-Qahtani of leading the operation to eliminate Khashoggi and of giving the orders to do so to a team of Saudi agents. The two former officials are relatives of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been named as the sponsor of the murder by Turkish and American officials.

Turkish justice has also indicted 18 other suspects. It has issued arrest warrants for all the accused, who are not in Turkey and are facing the death penalty.

Agnes Callamard, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, is expected to attend the trial.

With AFP

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