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French authorities arrest suspect in brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

French authorities have arrested a Saudi man who is suspected of being involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to reports from the BBC and The Washington Post.

What's a very brief history here?

Khashoggi, a former Washington Post journalist, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, sometime during October 2018 after having gone missing.

The journalist became a target after criticizing Saudi Arabian de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his country.

Assassins were said to have dismembered Khashoggi while he was still alive.

A Saudi Arabian court convicted eight people in connection with the 201 murder, sentencing five people to death and three to jail.

The death sentences were later overturned.

What are the details?

Authorities arrested 33-year-old Khaled Aedh Alotaibi at Charles-de-Gaulle airport on Tuesday, according to the report. He was reportedly trying to board a plane to Riyadh when he was detained.

Alotaibi is one of at least 26 Saudis wanted by Turkey in connection with Khashoggi's murder.

Alotaibi, a former Saudi royal guard, was said to be traveling under his own name upon detention.

Saudi Arabian officials initially said that agents killed Khashoggi in a "rogue operation" meant to persuade him to return to the kingdom. Turkish officials, however, said that agents acted on orders from above.

Bin Salman has denied any role in the death of the famed journalist.

CNN reported that Alotaibi was also one of at least 16 individuals who were banned from the United States by the State Department in April 2019 for what was said to be "their roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi."

By 2020, the British government placed Alotaibi under sanctions, saying that he was "involved in the unlawful killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul ... as part of the 15 man team sent to Turkey by Saudi authorities" and "involved in the concealment of evidence at the Saudi General Consul's residence following the killing."

According to reports, proceedings for Alotaibi's extradition to Turkey have begun.

Anything else?

Hatice Cengiz, the late Khashoggi's fiancee, told CNN that the arrest appeared to be "a very significant first step for justice for Jamal" and said that justice should "be allowed to take its proper course."

"Those who executed the plan must not be used to shield those much higher up who gave the order for Jamal's brutal killing," Cengiz added in her statement to the network.

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