ISTANBUL — A Turkish court has suspended the trial in absentia of 26 Saudis accused in the gruesome killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and ruled that the case be transferred to Saudi Arabia.
The decision Thursday comes despite warnings from human rights groups that turning the case over to the kingdom would lead to a cover up of the killing, which has cast suspicion on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The case was moved to Saudi Arabia after a prosecutor requested to transfer the case because none of the Saudi suspects were in Turkish custody.
Saudi Arabia had refused to extradite the 26 suspects.
The Turkish prime minister approved the request.
It also comes as Turkey, which is in an economic downturn, has been trying to repair its troubled relationship with Saudi Arabia and other countries in its region.
A human rights advocate called the decision “scandalous,” arguing that justice for Khashoggi would not be delivered by Saudi courts.
Khashoggi was found dead and dismembered in 2018, inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.