Saudi officials are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi officials are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi murderers’ gruesome fate

Saudi officials are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Shalaan al-Shaalan, the kingdom's deputy public prosecutor, revealed that 21 people are in custody over the grisly killing and charges have been brought against 11 of them.

Al-Shalaan told reporters in Riyadh he has sought the death penalty for five who "are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals".

None of the five facing the death penalty were named. Executions in Saudi Arabia are usually carried out by public beheading.

Within hours of the decision, the US announced it would place punishing economic sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly involved in the murder.

"The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The 17 included Saud Al-Qahtani and Maher Mutreb, key aides of the powerful prince, and Mohammed Al-Otaibi, who was the consul general in the Istanbul consulate when Khashoggi was murdered.

The US Treasury said Qahtani, Crown Prince Mohammed's long-time right-hand man, "was part of the planning and execution of the operation" to kill Khashoggi.

But it did not point any fingers at the Prince, who the Saudi Government has insisted did not order the killing.

Meanwhile, Saudi officials have maintained the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body is unknown.

CROWN PRINCE 'KNEW NOTHING' OF MURDER

Saudi authorities maintain the Crown Prince was not involved in the murder case.

"His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has nothing to do with this issue. This was a rogue operation," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said.

His comments contradict the findings of a Turkish investigation, which claim it was a well-planned operation that came from high-level officials in the Saudi kingdom.

Earlier in the week, a recorded phone call linked the Washington Post columnist's death to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.

A member of the 15-man "hit squad", which allegedly killed the Saudi citizen, reportedly said in a phone call with a superior afterwards to "tell your boss" the murder mission had been completed.

The phone call was made by Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb in Arabic.

A recording of it, shared last month with CIA director Gina Haspel, is seen as some of the strongest evidence linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder.

The phone call did not mention the Prince by name, but The New York Times reported that US intelligence officials believe "your boss" was a reference to the young ruler, while Turkish intelligence officers said they thought he was speaking to one of Bin Salman's aides.

Turkey continues to call on the Saudis to reveal who ordered the killing.

US President Donald Trump suggested ultimate responsibility lay with the Prince as de facto ruler.