Saudi prosecutor seeks death sentences as Khashoggi murder trial opens

The statement also said prosecutors sent a request to Turkey for evidence that Ankara has collected over the October 2 killing of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that at the court session, which was held in Riyadh, the prosecutor demanded that "proper punishments" be imposed against the 11 defendants and that "capital punishment" sentences be handed to five of them over their direct involvement in the killing.

Among Prince Mohammed´s strongest allies is US President Donald Trump, who now faces increasing pressure to approve measures against Saudi Arabia.

The trial is the latest development in a case that has triggered a reckoning about USA support of Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, as well as the financial influence of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

The UN rights office always opposed the death penalty, she added. The reports suggest that the bags contained Khashoggi's body parts.

The kingdom has come under heavy global pressure, including from the United States, its closest ally, whose Senate has voted in favour of a resolution blaming the crown prince for the murder.

The killing of Khashoggi, who wrote columns critical of Prince Mohammed, has strained the decades-long ties the kingdom enjoys with the United States.

Turkish officials also sought to have the Saudi suspects extradited to Turkey to stand trial there, but Saudi Arabia repeatedly turned down the requests.

The whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains are still unknown.

Prosecutors say he was murdered in a "rogue" operation by agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom.

"From the very beginning of this case, we've been pressing for justice.We've been calling for an independent investigation with worldwide involvement", Shamdasani said.

Lawyers for the defendants were present in court yesterday where, according to state media reports, a request from the 11 for more time...

In November, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said investigators had concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Mr Khashoggi's murder, applying a lethal injection inside the consulate. It gave no details on the next hearing.

Assaf replaced Adel al-Jubeir.Experts in Saudi politics said the move reflected a perception that Jubeir was tainted by having served as Riyadh's chief global defender during the Khashoggi affair.