The person detained in Paris over suspected hyperlinks to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was misidentified, French authorities have confirmed.
France confirmed it was the unsuitable individual after having 48 hours to confirm the id of the man arrested, with the Saudi Embassy earlier calling it a case of mistaken id.
Named by French regulation enforcement sources as Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, he was arrested as he was about to board a flight to the Saudi capital Riyadh as a result of his passport triggered an alert.
Jamal Khashoggi: How journalist met his dying inside Saudi consulate in Istanbul
He has the identical identify as a former member of the Saudi Royal Guard listed in US and British sanctions paperwork and a UN-commissioned report as having been concerned in Khashoggi’s killing in Turkey.
In a press release, French authorities mentioned on Wednesday: “In-depth verifications referring to the id of this individual made it attainable to determine that the mandate didn’t apply to him.
“On the finish of his judicial detention, he was launched.”
The Saudi Embassy in Paris mentioned late on Tuesday “the one that was arrested has nothing to do with the case in query” and ought to be instantly launched.
In a press release, the Ministry of Overseas Affairs added: “The embassy would additionally prefer to reaffirm that the Saudi judiciary has issued verdicts towards all of those that participated within the heinous homicide of Jamal Khashoggi and all of them are presently serving their sentences.”
The person was intercepted on the airport on Tuesday morning when his passport triggered an alert based mostly on a Turkish arrest warrant whereas being scanned.
French police had his passport particulars and an image of relatively poor high quality based mostly on the Turkish arrest warrant, however no biometric data, mentioned a police supply.
Mr Khashoggi was a Saudi-born US resident and a reporter who was a frequent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
A 2019 UN report mentioned a 15-member Saudi staff have been concerned within the dying of the journalist after he went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to acquire a doc to permit him to marry his fiancé.
Recordings counsel Mr Khashoggi’s physique was dismembered by a bone noticed and partly burnt in a tandoori oven within the backyard.
His physique was by no means discovered.
The report mentioned Al-Otaibi was considered one of 5 members of the staff who weren’t within the consulate itself – the place the killing reportedly befell – however within the consul normal’s residence, the place the physique was taken.
The crown prince has denied any involvement, however an intelligence report discovered bin Salman is more likely to have accepted the operation.