Khaled Aedh Alotaibi, a 33-year-old Saudi man suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been arrested in France, as per international media reports.
Alotaibi, was arrested at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris on Tuesday, 7 December, reported BBC, citing French media. He has since been placed placed in judicial detention.
A former Saudi royal guard, Alotaibi is one of 26 Saudis wanted by Turkey over the journalist's killing.
Khashoggi, who wrote opinion columns for The Washington Post and was critical of the Saudi crown prince, was killed by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.
He was subsequently drugged, strangled, and dismembered by a group of operatives allegedly linked to the prince.
Mistaken Identity: Saudi Official
A Saudi official has claimed that the arrest was a case of mistaken identity and was quoted as saying, “Media reports suggesting that a person who was implicated in the crime against Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi has been arrested in France are false,” the New York Times reported.
The official added, “Those convicted of the crime are currently serving their sentences in Saudi Arabia.”
Though five men had been sentenced to death and three were sent to prison by a Saudi court, the death sentences were replaced by prison terms after one of Khashoggi's sons said that they pardoned the killers.Notably, identities of those convicted were never made public, while human rights groups have called the process fake.
If Alotaibi turns out to be a suspect, France could extradite him to Turkey, making him the first person to be tried in person, outside of Saudi Arabia.
(With inputs from BBC and The New York Times.)