Suspect in alleged murder, dismembering of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi arrested in Paris airport

Sebastian Hughes, DCNF

French police arrested a Saudi man Tuesday accused of being a member of the group that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, CNN reported.

The 33-year-old man was detained at a Paris airport before his flight to Saudi Arabia, CNN reported Tuesday. He was attempting to travel with a real passport, the French National Police told the outlet.

Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist who was allegedly drugged and brutally dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, according to the BBC. He had been an outspoken critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency later concluded ordered the killing.

Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi was identified as the suspect by radio station RTL, but French police have not yet confirmed his identity, CNN reported. A Saudi official claimed to the outlet that the detainment is “believed to be a case of mistaken identity.”

Al-Otaibi was one of 16 men the U.S. State Department banned from entering the country in 2019 for “their roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” CNN reported. The U.K. also placed sanctions on him in 2020.

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s former fiancee, told CNN the arrest seemed to be “a very significant first step for justice for Jamal” and asked that justice “be allowed to take its proper course.”

“Those who executed the plan must not be used to shield those much higher up who gave the order for Jamal’s brutal killing,” she added.

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