Saudi Arabia Rejects Turkey’s Extradition Request in Khashoggi Killing

Saudi Arabia Rejects Turkey’s Extradition Request in Khashoggi Killing

MANAMA, Bahrain — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Saturday rejected a call by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to try the suspects in the killing of the dissident commentator Jamal Khashoggi in that country, saying that the men arrested would be prosecuted on Saudi soil.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called the international outrage over the killing “fairly hysterical” and said that once the Saudi investigation was complete, the suspects would be held accountable “in Saudi Arabia.”

“Unfortunately, there has been this hysteria in the media before the investigation was complete,” he said during a panel at the Manama Dialogue, which was organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and a columnist for The Washington Post who was also a critic of Saudi Arabia’s current rulers, was killed on Oct. 2 by a team of Saudi agents in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have said that the agents dismembered Mr. Khashoggi with a bone saw in order to dispose of the body, as part of a premeditated assassination. Many current and former Western officials have argued that such an operation could have been authorized only by Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In a speech this past week, Mr. Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to extradite any suspects for a trial in Turkey. He has argued that the rulers of Saudi Arabia face a conflict of interest in overseeing any trial because the killing was ordered and directed from within the Saudi government for political reasons.

Mr. Jubeir’s remarks on Saturday amounted to a rejection of Mr. Erdogan’s request for extradition, as expected. The foreign minister also did not directly respond to questions about how the kingdom would convince its allies that Prince Mohammed had no ties to the killing.

Saudi Arabia acknowledged that Mr. Khashoggi had died inside the consulate only after more than two weeks of changing stories. Last Saturday, the kingdom said its investigators had concluded that Saudi agents accidentally strangled Mr. Khashoggi during a brawl that broke out while they were attempting to persuade him to voluntarily return home.

On Thursday, however, the kingdom revised its story, saying that Turkey had provided evidence that showed the killing had been premeditated.

That disclosure appeared to have been timed to get ahead of a report to President Trump by the director of the C.I.A., Gina Haspel, who visited Ankara, the Turkish capital, this past week. Turkish officials have said they have audio recordings of the killings inside the consulate, presumably obtained though surveillance, and Ms. Haspel was expected to hear those recordings.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who spoke at the conference earlier in the day, said Mr. Khashoggi’s death “undermines regional stability.” He promised the United States would seek to hold accountable those responsible for the death, though he did not mention Saudi Arabia by name.

The kingdom said it had arrested 18 Saudis in connection with the killing. The royal court also fired a number of senior intelligence officials said by Saudi officials to have orchestrated the operation or participated in covering it up.

Also fired was Saud al-Qahtani, a close adviser to Prince Mohammed who was said to have played a role in creating the environment in which violence was used against Mr. Khashoggi. But neither Mr. Qahtani nor the intelligence officials have been arrested by the kingdom, raising questions about its commitment to holding them accountable.

In his comments on Saturday, Mr. Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, said the kingdom’s alliance with the United States was “ironclad.” He praised Mr. Trump’s regional foreign policy as “rational, realistic.”

After the investigation, he added, “we will know the truth.”

“We will put in place measures to stop it from happening again,” he said. “And we will be transparent about it.”

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