Turkish court adds six Saudi defendants to Khashoggi murder trial

An Istanbul court on Tuesday added six more Saudi nationals as defendants to the case against Saudi officials in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, BBC Turkish reported.

Saudi critic and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi was murdered in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2, 2018. While the journalists' remains have not been found, Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed from the building.

In September, the Saudi chief prosecutor jailed eight unnamed defendants in the case to between seven to 20 years in prison.

In a second indictment accepted by the Istanbul court on Tuesday, another six defendants were added to the list of 20 Saudi officials already being tried in absentia following Riyadh’s refusal to extradite the men despite repeated requests by Turkey.

The second indictment charges a vice consul and an attaché are accused of "premeditated murder with monstrous intent," while four other Saudi nationals are accused of destroying, concealing or tampering with evidence.

The first indictment accused the former deputy head of Saudi Arabia's general intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri and former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani of instigating the murder.

Moreover, 18 other defendants were flown to Turkey to kill the 60-year-old critic of the Saudi government, according to the indictment.

Ayman Nour, a friend of Khashoggi who testified during Tuesday’s hearing, said that Khashoggi had told him that the al-Qahtani family was threatening him. 

The two indictments have been joined and the next hearing in the case is set to take place on March 4, BBC Turkish said.