Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Sunday rejected demands to extradite suspects who were allegedly responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The demands were sought by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We do not extradite our citizens,” said Adel al-Jubeir towards the end of a summit of Gulf Cooperation Council states in Riyadh.
On Wednesday, a Turkish court issued arrest warrants at the request of Istanbul’s chief prosecutor to the two suspects namely Ahmad al-Assiri, the former Saudi intelligence chief and Saud al-Qahtani, the former adviser to the royal court.
After Riyadh admitted that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, the two suspects namely Ahmad Al Assiri and Qahtani were sacked. According to Turkey, a 15-member Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi.
Erdogan has said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government but has insisted it was not King Salman.
The Turkish leader insisted last weekend during a trip to South America that Riyadh hand over the suspects, but said the kingdom was not cooperating.
Riyadh has since detained 21 people over the murder.
Qahtani was among 17 Saudi officials targeted by sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department in mid-November for “his role in preparing for the operation” against the journalist.
The murder has damaged Riyadh’s international reputation and Western countries including the United States, France, and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who is also the Middle East adviser continued his private conversations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He advised him on how to deal with the aftermath of the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives, stated a US media report.
(With Agency inputs)