Khashoggi murder 'suspect' held in France
French police have arrested a suspected member of the hit squad that killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as the man was about to board a flight from Paris to Riyadh, French law enforcement sources say.
Khashoggi's fiancee welcomed the detention of the suspect and said he should be prosecuted for his role in the 2018 killing.
But the Saudi Embassy in Paris said the arrested person "has nothing to do with the case in question".
"Therefore the Kingdom's embassy expects his immediate release," it said in a statement.
A French police source and a judicial source named the man as Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi - the same name as a former member of the Saudi Royal Guard who is identified in US and British sanctions lists, and a UN-commissioned report, as having been involved in Khashoggi's killing.
The police who detained him were acting on a 2019 arrest warrant issued by Turkey, the country where Khashoggi was killed, according to the police source.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed. His remains have not been found.
A US intelligence report released in March this year said Prince Mohammed had approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the crown prince and rejected the report's findings.
Last year, a Saudi court jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years over the killing, but none of the defendants was named.
The trial was criticised by a UN official and human rights campaigners who said the masterminds of the murder remained free.
"This could be a major breakthrough in the quest for justice for Jamal Khashoggi," former UN investigator Agnes Callamard, who led a United Nations investigation into Khashoggi's killing, said of the Paris detention.
Callamard, now head of rights group Amnesty International, said more confirmation was required to prove that the man held in France is the same person she identified in her report.
The French Interior Ministry declined to comment. Turkish officials said they were waiting for confirmation of the detained man's identity.
A Saudi official told Reuters there had been a mistake.
"Media reports suggesting that a person who was implicated in the crime against Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi has been arrested in France are false," the official said.
"This is a case of mistaken identity. Those convicted of the crime are currently serving their sentences in Saudi Arabia."
Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz , said on Twitter: "I welcome the arrest today of one of Jamal's killers today in France."
"France should try him for his crime, or extradite him to a country able and willing to genuinely investigate and prosecute him as well as the person who gave the order to murder Jamal," Cengiz said.
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