‘Mistaken identity’: Suspect arrested in connection with Khashoggi death cleared by police

The 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey led to international media coverage and a demand for answers.

This week, reports indicate that a Saudi national has been arrested in France on suspicion of involvement in the deadly plot.

“Nothing to do with the case in question”

According to a BBC report, 33-year-old Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi was taken into police custody on Tuesday at the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Al-Otaibi has been placed on an Interpol watchlist and has an active arrest warrant in Turkey. The man arrested was reportedly using his actual name as he attempted to take a flight to Saudi Arabia.

French reports indicated that he was ordered to appear in court later the same day to face a choice of being sent back to Turkey or fighting extradition in France. For its part, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs proclaimed that authorities had detained the wrong man.

Calling it a case of “mistaken identity,” the ministry added: “The person arrested has nothing to do with the case in question.”

The Saudi embassy in France reportedly believed that the detained individual would be released imminently.

“Currently serving their sentences”

“The Embassy would like to reaffirm that the Saudi judiciary has issued verdicts against all those who participated in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi and all of them are currently serving their sentence,” the foreign ministry added.

Seventeen individuals were subject to U.S. sanctions for their alleged participation in Khashoggi’s death. Al-Otaibi has been identified as one of the men present at the scene.

Shortly after the journalist was killed, then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that the U.S. would work toward uncovering “all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi’s fiancee, children, and the family he leaves behind.”

The Saudi foreign ministry has also publicly denied allegations that its own crown prince was complicit in the scheme to kill the Post columnist.

In a brief statement on Wednesday, the Paris general prosecutor’s office confirmed the Saudi assertion that the “warrant does not apply” to the individual arrested the previous day.

Latest News