Murderers not to stand trial: Jamal Khashoggi case handed over to Saudi Arabia

News About Turkey - NAT
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In the trial over the killing of The Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabia’s Consulate General in İstanbul, the court has ruled that the file shall be handed over to Saudi Arabia.

Held at the İstanbul 11th High Criminal Court today (April 7), the hearing was not attended by the 26 defendants, who were put on trial in absentia and against whom there were warrants as part of the trial.

While some lawyers assigned by the İstanbul Bar Association represented the defendants at the hearing, Khashoggi’s fiancee and plaintiff Hatice Cengiz and her lawyer were present in the courtroom.

Handing down its ruling, the court has ruled that the trial shall be halted and it shall be handed over to the judicial authorities in Saudi Arabia.

‘Turkey finally sells out Khashoggi’

Writing for The Washington Post yesterday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Representative to Turkey and BİA Media Monitoring Rapporteur Erol Önderoğlu has criticized the imminent move by saying, “Turkey, no friend of press freedom, finally sells out Khashoggi”.

Önderoğlu has briefly shared the following commentary:

Handing the case over to Saudi Arabia, a repressive regime lacking even the pretenses of a free press or independent judiciary, would deal a serious blow to any remaining chance of justice for Khashoggi’s killers. It will also send a chilling signal about Turkey’s own respect for the freedom of the press.

“The prosecution of Khashoggi’s murder reflects a real challenge for a Turkish court system whose independence is increasingly under threat from government interference. The move to relocate the trial appears to be part of a broader policy change from the very top to try to smooth over the relationship with the oil-rich Saudi regime. It is difficult to believe that a single prosecutor could have the ‘independent initiative’ for such a request, which not only defies common sense but challenges the government’s legal standing and jurisdiction.

It’s now clear Turkey — a serial offender when it comes to curtailing the press and freedom of expression — was not going to keep the pressure. Justice seems like just a token to be traded for mutual political and economic benefit.

“Khashoggi’s brutal murder shocked the world and triggered widespread outrage. But after three years, and a weak international response to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — ranked 153rd and 170th respectively on RSF’s World Press Freedom Index — appear content to let the case fade from memory, with each regime further emboldened to act with impunity against the free press.

“We can’t let them get away with it.”

What happened?

In the trial of 26 people in absentia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia, of which Khashoggi was a citizen, requested that the file of the case held by the İstanbul 11th High Criminal Court be handed over to them and the red notice on the defendants be lifted.

At the hearing held on March 31, the prosecutor of the hearing reiterated the same request in his opinion as to the accusations and the court board ruled that the Justice Ministry should be asked for its opinion. Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ announced that the request would be accepted.

CLICK – Jamal Khashoggi murder | Prosecutor wants the file to be handed over to Saudi Arabia

CLICK – Turkey to pass Khashoggi case to Saudi Arabia, ‘complies with’ ECtHR judgment on Kavala



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