France admits arresting the wrong man in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by members of the Saudi security services in Turkey in 2018.
(Hasan Jamali / Associated Press)

French authorities announced Wednesday that a man they arrested at Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport on suspicion of being linked to the 2018 killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the wrong person.

The Paris General Prosecutor’s office issued a short statement, after more than 24 hours of checks, saying that the man arrested Tuesday was not the Khalid Aedh Otaibi wanted under a 2019 Turkish arrest warrant. Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

“The warrant does not apply to him,” the statement said of the arrested man, without elaborating.


French media reported that the mix-up was related to the fact that the detained man’s name was identical to that of the wanted Otaibi.

A judicial official told the Associated Press that the suspect could be held until Thursday morning at the latest but that he would likely be released earlier.

The Saudi Embassy in Paris maintained from the start that it was a case of mistaken identity and that the arrested man “had nothing to do with the case in question.”