One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport on Tuesday, as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh.
A source says a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia was the suspected killer and was on a French wanted list.
He was arrested on the basis of a warrant issued by Turkey in 2019, and French prosecutors will now begin proceedings for potential extradition there.
The arrest of the suspected killer came just days after French President Emmanuel Macron held face-to-face talks in Saudi Arabia with de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, becoming the first major Western leader to visit the kingdom since Khashoggi’s murder.
A U.S. intelligence report from March noted that the Crown Prince had approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi, however, the Saudi government has long denied any involvement.
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Khashoggi was a long-time critic of Prince Mohammed and was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
His remains have not been found, while Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed from the premises.
A Saudi court convicted eight unnamed people over the murder in 2019
Five of them were found guilty of directly participating in the killing and handed death sentences that were later commuted to 20-year prison terms, while three others were jailed for seven to 10 years for covering up the crime.
The Saudi trial was dismissed as “the antithesis of justice” by then-UN Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard.
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In a damning report released in 2019, Ms. Callamard concluded that Khashoggi was “the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution” for which the Saudi state was responsible.
“We talked about absolutely everything, without any taboos and we were obviously able to bring up the question of human rights,” Mr Macron told reporters on Saturday.
Reuters with additional input by GVS