The Guardian: Khashoggi killers live in luxury villas in Riyadh
According to a source close to Saudi intelligence, the killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are living in seven-star, luxury villas funded by the government in Riyadh.
A source close to Saudi intelligence has divulged that the Saudi hit squad convicted of killing Jamal Khashoggi are actually enjoying their freedom comfortably in "seven-star" establishments inside a government-funded compound in Riyadh.
The assassins are reportedly living in residential complexes with access to gyms and workstations, frequently visited by family. The compounds are operated by Saudi Arabia's State Security agency, far from the country's notorious prisons. According to the source, two witnesses claim to have seen the men.
The murderers were sentenced in a Saudi court in a trial widely regarded as a farce, where only one, Salah al-Tubaigy, was identified. Some were sentenced to death, but their convictions were eventually reduced to life terms.
The sightings cast further doubt on Riyadh’s claims to be holding the killers to account and come as crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's advisor Saud Al-Qahtani reappeared in the royal court after being in hiding for 3 years.
An intelligence assessment found that although he was the one who orchestrated the assassination, he was acquitted.
Tubaigy, a forensic scientist who dismembered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was among those spotted inside the premises, according to the source. Mustafa Al-Madani, the body duplicate sent by the hit squad team to create the deception that Khashoggi left the consulate alive, has also been sighted, as has Mansour Abahussein, the operation's leader.
Both witnesses have said the men have been seen at the compound relaxed and receiving visitors numerous times in the last two years.
Witnesses have refused to reveal their identities fearing the reaction of Saudi state security and MBS. The witnesses confirm the sightings of Tubaigy, Abahussein, and Madani occurred in late 2019 and early 2020. Abahussein and Madani are known to be state security intelligence officials and their employer, Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al-Howairini, has been seen with them occasionally and seen using the compound gym.
In December 2019, a Saudi court acquitted three suspects, sentenced five to death, and sentenced five more to prison following secret processes.
The five men who received death sentences were formally pardoned in May 2020 by Khashoggi's children in an agreement negotiated by MBS.
Witnesses reporting seeing the killers in a "seven-star" living arrangement, not deprived of any freedom, exposes the false claims of the Saudi royal court of justice having been served.
Suspect of Khashoggi murder Saudi Khaled Al-Otaibi arrested
On December 7, French media reported the arrest of Khaled Al-Otaibi, one of the Saudis suspected of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
French media said that Al-Otaibi was preparing to leave from Charles de Gaulle airport while he was preparing to head to Riyadh, noting that Al-Otaibi was wanted by the Interpol after Turkey issued an arrest warrant against him for an assassination charge.
This decision came after French President Emmanuel Macron met in Jeddah with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the issue of ensuring "stability" in the Gulf, as well as the situation in Lebanon.
Officials in Turkey believe that the French police released the man for political reasons after they claimed they had a case of mistaken identity.
A reliable source verified to The Guardian that Turkish authorities had expressed that the information they submitted to Interpol matched what French police had first sent to them.
MBS has been reportedly attempting to curtail any trial that will bring about more details to the public about the killing.
Macron calls Aoun on a French initiative
In early December, a French-Saudi initiative was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron to address the diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Macron was the first Western leader to visit Saudi Arabia since the Khashoggi scandal in October 2018.