France arrests suspected member of Khashoggi murder squad in Paris airport

Paris police on Tuesday arrested a suspected member of the team that murdered Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in 2018, France 24 network reported.

Police took 33-year-old Khalid Alotaibi into police custody at Paris’ main airport, it said, on the basis of a Turkey-issued arrest warrant for the suspect, ahead of his scheduled flight to Riyadh from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

A U.S-based journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia's government, Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2, 2018 by what is believed to be a team of Saudi assassins after he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Alotaibi’s name appeared in a Washington Post investigation on the alleged hit squad, based on passport copies and travel details, France 24 said.

The suspect is set to appear before prosecutors on Wednesday.

Turkey last year began a trial for 20 suspects in Khashoggi’s murder, including the former deputy chief of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, Ahmed al-Asiri, and ex-royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani, and indicted six more suspects during the same year.  

However, the suspects are being tried in absentia by a Turkish court because Riyadh has refused to extradite the men despite repeated requests by Turkey.

A Saudi court in September of last year overturned the death sentences of five in the murder case following a trial in the kingdom. The men were sentenced to 20 years in prison instead.

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