New York, April 7, 2022 – In response to a decision by Turkish authorities on Thursday, April 7, to transfer the trial of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“The Turkish government’s trial of Jamal Khashoggi’s suspected killers was politicized from the start, but the decision to transfer his case to Saudi Arabia extinguishes any hope of reaching an impartial conclusion based on the evidence,” said CPJ Senior Middle East and North Africa Researcher Justin Shilad. “The international community must pursue a credible and transparent investigation into Khashoggi’s murder, and should not allow political expediency or interference to derail justice.”
A Turkish court granted prosecutors’ request to transfer the case on Thursday, saying that the Turkish trial had been hampered by Saudi authorities’ refusal to extradite suspects, according to news reports, which said that Turkey’s minister of justice endorsed the decision, and that Saudi authorities had requested the transfer in March.
Hetice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée, said she will appeal the decision, according to reports.
Turkey began the trial of 26 Saudi suspects in absentia in July 2020, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously opposed transferring evidence to Saudi authorities over fears they would destroy it, according to reports. The new decision comes as the Turkish government seeks to mend ties with Saudi Arabia and shore up relations with other Gulf countries.
A Saudi court sentenced five people to death and three to prison terms for the murder in December 2019. Those death sentences were changed to prison terms in September 2020 after Khashoggi’s sons said they had pardoned the killers.