‘They are behind bars’: Saudi Arabia hits back at Macron

Written by Staff Writer

(CNN) — A Saudi national who had been detained in France was released from custody on Wednesday, hours after French President Emmanuel Macron said the 28-year-old had been mistaken for a man who was involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi national had gone to the Orchard de la Villette police station in Paris on Tuesday with an Egyptian girlfriend.

A judicial source said investigators checked the Saudi national’s passport and discovered that he had not left Saudi Arabia.

Authorities searched his home, but found no evidence of murder. The man’s girlfriend, who had accompanied him, was released without charge.

Macron was questioned about the matter during a press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

The President said it was “difficult to deal with,” saying, “France must do everything possible to ensure justice in the Khashoggi case.”

The French President’s comments have angered top Saudi officials.

Saudi Ambassador Prince Khalid bin Salman responded to the President’s comments at a press conference on Wednesday, saying France is mistaken.

“Saudi Arabia is punishing those responsible for the Khashoggi case at all levels and by all the means at its disposal,” he said, according to state-run Saudi Press Agency.

“They are behind bars, they cannot leave, they are being tried,” Prince Khalid said.

“Khashoggi is a Saudi citizen, he was Saudi citizen and it’s not the Kingdom’s position to condemn or agree with those who are responsible for his death,” he said.

Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of the Saudi government, disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish investigators believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, with his body then dismembered.

Two Western intelligence sources told CNN that Turkey’s police believe Khashoggi’s killers have set up a hit team of 22 Saudis on Turkish soil who could be responsible for the killing.

Turkish authorities recovered body parts from a bone shredder at the Saudi consulate, the sources said.

CNN has not seen the body parts or the bone shredder in question, but if the report is accurate, the killer was using a bone shredder, a proprietary tool designed to be installed into pre-existing bone structures.

According to the sources, Turkish investigators have also retrieved three phones, sent by Saudi authorities, from a bone lab that has been used by the killers.

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