Pompeo to Seek Update on Khashoggi Murder Trial in Upcoming Saudi Arabia Visit

A Saudi court recently held first hearing, in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of 11 suspects in the case ■ Visit is part of U.S. secretary of state's Mideast tour, which will not include a stop in Israel

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the press at the State Department in Washington,  December 13, 2018
AFP

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will seek an update to Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the October killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when he visits Riyadh during a trip to the Middle East next week, the State Department said on Friday.

Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post journalist from Saudi Arabia who had become a critic of the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

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U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the crown prince ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi, whose body was dismembered and removed from the building to a location still publicly unknown. Top Turkish officials have also tied his death to the highest levels of Saudi leadership.

Saudi officials have denied accusations that the prince ordered the murder.

A Saudi court on Thursday held its first hearing on Khashoggi’s case in which Saudi Arabian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects in the case. The United Nations human rights office on Friday called the trial “not sufficient.”

Pompeo will also visit Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait as part of his January 8 to January 15 trip, the State Department said in a statement.

As part of his talks with Middle Eastern leaders, Pompeo will also discuss the war in Yemen as well as Iran, Syria and other regional issues, the department said.