A man allegedly involved in the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested in France on Tuesday, according to reports from officials and Paris media outlets. Khalid Aedh al-Otaibi was detained at Charles de Gaulle Airport by French law enforcement on an outstanding Turkish arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported. Otaibi had been preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia. Proceedings for his extradition to Turkey are reportedly underway.
The 33-year-old is suspected of being part of the 15-person team allegedly responsible for the torture and dismembering of Khashoggi in Istanbul’s Saudi consulate in 2018. Otaibi was identified by a UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings as a close associate and personal security officer of the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is thought to have ordered the journalist’s murder. Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist and sharp critic of Saudi Arabia’s government and royal family.
Otaibi’s arrest is the first in the case made outside of Saudi Arabia. In 2019, a Saudi court sentenced five people to death and three to prison after all were convicted in Khashoggi’s murder. The death sentences were commuted after some of the journalist’s family forgave the killers, which Khashoggi’s fiancée called “a mockery of justice.” It’s unclear if Otaibi was one of the men tried in Saudi Arabia, as the identities of the convicted men were never publicly revealed.