İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkey is charging 20 suspects in connection with the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and former deputy head of intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri were among the suspects charged with “instigating a premeditated murder with the intent of [causing] torment through fiendish instinct”, the office of the Istanbul chief prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, said on Wednesday. Assisted by three intelligence officers, a team of 15 men then travelled to Istanbul and carried out Qatani and Asiri’s orders, the statement said. The other 18 suspects are charged with deliberate murder.

The charges were based on witness statements, an analysis of Khashoggi’s digital devices, and records of the people entering and leaving Turkey, the statement said. Saudi Arabia has not yet made a public comment about the indictments.

Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist who had gone into self-imposed exile in the US in 2017. He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018, seeking papers to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz. Investigators believe that as she waited outside, the 59-year-old was murdered and then dismembered. Khashoggi’s remains have never been found. The gruesome killing shocked the world and UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said there was credible evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed and other high-level Saudi officials were individually liable.

A United Nations special rapporteur says Khashoggi was "the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible". Saudi authorities blamed a “rogue operation” for Khashoggi’s death. In December, a court in the kingdom sentenced five unnamed people to death and jailed three more over the murder.

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