Khashoggi Murder Trial Opens in Saudi Arabia

January 3, 2019, 12:43 PM UTC

The first closed hearing in the Jamal Khashoggi murder trial was held in Riyadh today, with 11 suspects present. The public prosecutor has requested the death penalty for five of the accused, who were not identified in accordance with Saudi law.

The prosecution is still waiting for evidence from Turkey, and interrogation is ongoing, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. The court granted the lawyers’ request for time to respond. In the Saudi judicial system, defendants are not required to make a plea at the start of the trial, the Financial Times reports.

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2; his body has not been found. Khashoggi was a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s policies, and intelligence leaks from Turkey have indicated the prince had a role in the decision to kill him, which Saudi Arabia denies. If the Saudis proceed with the execution, no other countries will be able to hear the testimonies of the accused, Al Jazeera reports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked for the accused to be extradited to Turkey to stand trial, a request that has been rejected, the Guardian reports. On New Year’s Eve, Turkish police released new video supposedly showing bags containing Khashoggi’s body parts being carried into the home of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul.

Netflix came under fire this week for removing an episode of the comedy series “Patriot Act” that accused Saudi Arabia of covering up the murder.