A 33-year-old man was detained at Charles de Gaulle Airport before boarding a flight at 9:30 a.m. local time, and a French National Police spokesman told CNN that he was traveling under a valid passport. The spokesman added that he had been remanded in judicial custody.
The RTL radio station quoted French police and judicial sources as saying that the suspect had been identified as Khalid al-Otaibi. French police have not confirmed the identity of the man to CNN.
However, a senior Saudi official told CNN that it was “believed to be a case of misrepresentation”.
Al-Otaibi was one of 16 people banned from the United States by the State Department in April 2019 for “their role in the assassination of Jamal Kashoki”.
Similarly, the British government placed al-Otaibi under sanctions in July 2020. The British government said, “He was involved in the illegal assassination of Jamal Kashoghi in Istanbul … He was part of a group of 15 people sent to Turkey by Saudi authorities.
A spokesman for the Paris Court of Appeals told CNN that if the suspect’s identity was confirmed as al-Otaibi, he would be arrested and face an initial hearing on Wednesday – the first steps in the extradition process. The court did not confirm the identity of the person.
Hadois Genghis, Kashoki’s ex-wife, told CNN in a statement that the arrest was “the most important first step in bringing justice to Jamal” and that “it should be allowed to take its right course.”
“Those who executed the plan should not be used to protect the very highest order who ordered the brutal murder of Jamal,” Genghis added.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry “completely rejected” the report.
There has been no official response from Turkish authorities to the detention of the Saudi national by French police. The Saudi embassy in Paris has not commented on the detention.
From Joseph Attaman and Pierre Byrne of CNN in Paris; Gul Tuysus in Istanbul. Nic Robertson and Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report
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