French officials have freed a Saudi man that was arrested at the Charles De Gaulle airport on suspicion of links to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The authorities said it was a case of mistaken identity.
French police had on Tuesday arrested the man because “his name and age” matched that of Khalid Al-Otaibi, who is accused of being part of the squad that killed Mr Khashoggi inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul in 2018.
Associated Press (AP) reports that the Paris General Prosecutor’s office issued a short statement Wednesday saying the arrested man “was not the Khalid Al-Otaibi who is wanted under a 2019 Turkish arrest warrant.”
The statement said extensive verifications of the man’s identity show that “the arrest warrant does not apply to him.”
The Saudi embassy in Paris said the arrested man was released later Wednesday and boarded a flight to Saudi Arabia. The embassy maintained it was a case of mistaken identity, adding that the man “had nothing to do with the case in question.”
The AP noted that a person named Khalid Al-Otaibi was one of the Saudi officials sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2018 over Khashoggi’s killing.
He was also mentioned in the U.S. intelligence report that said Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the operation that killed Khashoggi.
Mr Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer, was killed in October 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate to obtain documents he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.
Turkish officials alleged that Saudi agents tried to persuade him to return to the kingdom. When he refused, they killed him. His body was dismembered and his remains have never been found. Riyadh has repeatedly denied these allegations, saying the murder was carried out by a rogue security unit whose members were later punished.
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