November 15, 2018 / 2:34 PM / in 5 months

Saudi investigation into Khashoggi murder moving in right direction - France

PARIS (Reuters) - The investigation by Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is proceeding in the right direction, France’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Saudi’s deputy public prosecutor said earlier that Riyadh was seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged with Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

“We ask that the responsibilities are clearly established and that the perpetrators answer them in a real trial,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing.

“The Saudi authorities’ announcement that the 18 people arrested in connection with the investigation goes in the right direction.”

Although Paris has warned of possible sanctions once the truth is established, French reaction has been relatively guarded. France is keen to retain its influence with Riyadh and protect commercial relations spanning energy, finance and military weapons sales.

Khashoggi, a royal insider turned critic of Saudi policy, was killed in Istanbul on Oct. 2, when a team of assailants sent from Saudi Arabia was waiting for him at the consulate.

After a struggle, he died from a lethal injection, deputy public prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan told reporters.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Luke Baker

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