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Reports: French police arrest Saudi accused in Jamal Khashoggi slaying

Reports: French police arrest Saudi accused in Jamal Khashoggi slaying
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in 2018 in Istanbul after entering the Saudi consulate. File Photo by Ali Haider/EPA-EFE

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- French police on Tuesday arrested a Saudi man suspected of participating in the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, unnamed authorities said.

Unnamed French police sources told RTL, The Washington Post and BBC News that authorities arrested Khalid Aedh al-Otaibi on an outstanding Turkish arrest warrant. They detained him as he attempted to travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport.

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Al-Otaibi is one of 26 Saudi nationals wanted by Turkey for the killing of Khashoggi. The U.S. Treasury also sanctioned al-Otaibi along with 16 other Saudis in 2018 for the slaying.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who lived in Virginia, died Oct. 2, 2018, after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents he needed for his pending marriage. He was never observed leaving the building, nor was his body ever found.

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His disappearance sparked a months-long investigation in which officials determined he had been poisoned and dismembered with a bone saw inside the consulate.

A report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence in February accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of directly approving the operation to kill Khashoggi.

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An unnamed Saudi official dismissed the reports of al-Otaibi's arrest, telling The Washington Post that "media reports suggesting that a person who was implicated in the crime against Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi has been arrested in France are false."

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"This is a case of mistaken identity. Those convicted of the crime are currently serving their sentences in Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi court handed down prison sentences for eight people involved in Khashoggi's death, but overturned the death sentences for five of them after members of Khashoggi's family forgave them.

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