Saudi prosecution demands 5 defendants be executed for Jamal Khashoggi murder

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A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The show host also referred to Saudia Arabia as "the boy band manager of 9/11" and said the crown prince has been getting away with similar atrocities "for years with nearly no blowback from the worldwide community".

The trial of 11 Saudis suspected of involvement in Jamal Khashoggi's murder has opened, the kingdom's public prosecutor said on Thursday, adding that the death penalty has been recommended for five of them. Five people said to be "directly involved" in the murder are facing the death penalty.

Saudi Arabia said it also sent new letters to the Turkish public prosecutor asking for "any evidence connected to this case".

The episode discussed the murder of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, at Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.

Turkish media reports suggested his remains, which have never been found, were dissolved in acid. However, Riyadh continues to maintain that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not aware of or played any role in the murder. The defendants requested copies of the indictment against them and asked for time to review it. No date was set for the next hearing.

"There is enormous skepticism as to whether anything will be done and this is Saudi Arabia's opportunity to prove people wrong", he added. But the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly found that the crown prince did personally the killing, and a motion passed by the US Senate placed the blame on him.

The conflict - which has claimed the lives of over 60,000, brought millions to the brink of starvation, and triggered a massive cholera outbreak - has been repeatedly called the "world's worst humanitarian crisis" by the United Nations and other human rights watchdogs.

But Turkish sources told MEE at the time that the Saudi officials were very uncooperative and only sought to find out what Turkey knew, failing to offer any evidence themselves. Ten other suspects were still under investigation. However, a statement from prosecutors said the suspects attended the hearing with their lawyers.

"The authorities have previously used anti cyber-crime laws to silence dissidents, creating an environment of fear for those who dare to speak up in Saudi Arabia", Amnesty's Middle East director of campaigns Samah Hadid said.

Last week, King Salman put Ibrahim al-Assaf, a veteran former finance minister, in charge of foreign affairs, in an effort to improve the kingdom's image after the crisis caused by the killing.