Riyadh: Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly injected with an overdose of a drug and killed by Saudi agents, claimed the Public Prosecution of the country on Thursday, in yet another shocking revelation to the murder case. Out of the 21 suspects identified in the case, the death penalty was recommended by the Public Prosecution on Thursday for the five key offenders who were directly involved in the crime.

According to a report by Xinhua, the Public Prosecution said in a press meet that Khashoggi was “forcibly restrained and injected with a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death.” After the injection that resulted in an overdose, the five members dismembered Khashoggi’s body and transferred them outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

According to the statement released by the Public Prosecution, the murder plot began on September 29 when former Deputy President of the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) issued an order to bring back Khashoggi by any means. The mastermind behind the murder plan had a 15-member team for negotiation, intelligence and logistics. The investigation exposed the false report written by the negotiation group on the order of their leader. The report falsely stated that Khashoggi had left the consulate after the negotiation failed. The investigation team had also identified the person who left the consulate dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes after the murder.

Khashoggi, a journalist for The Washington Post and a fierce critic of the Saudi government and Crown Prince’s policies, disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He went to the consulate to get the documents required for his upcoming marriage. The disappearance of Khashoggi had sparked worldwide attention and pressure on Riyadh to investigate the issue.

After repeated denials, Saudi authorities eventually admitted late last month that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate but blamed it on a “rogue” operation. Police have arrested 18 individuals related to the case.

Khashoggi’s murder has also led to increased scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen war, which has pushed the impoverished country to the brink of famine.

(With IANS inputs)