June 28, 2022
managed to contact my friend, who in turn called the embassy,

Man wrongly detained over Khashoggi speaks of treatment by French security forces

A man wrongly imprisoned in connection to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has described his treatment at the hands of French security forces.

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Saudi citizen Khaled al-Otaibi spoke about the “filthy” conditions he was held in after being arrested at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday.

“They detained me in a filthy room of which the walls were stained with blood, where I could neither take rest nor sleep,” al-Otaibi told Saudi newspaper Okaz.

Soon after al-Otaibi’s arrest, the Saudi embassy issued a statement saying that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Al-Otaibi shares the name of a man listed in a UN-commissioned report as having been involved in Khashoggi’s killing.

He said that after he was detained, he asked authorities to allow him to contact the Saudi embassy, but he was not successful.

“However,” he said, “I managed to contact my friend, who in turn called the embassy, which responded directly, as its staff members were looking for me.”

Al-Otaibi managed to retrieve his mobile phone and eventually received a call from the embassy.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador and other embassy officials came to the holding center immediately, but security officials did not allow him to meet them, he said.

Speaking about his treatment at the hand of security forces, he said: “They did not even give me any opportunity to speak, and all their answers were in French.

“Later, an Arabic-speaking female lawyer explained to me that I was detained in connection with a murder case.”

He said that security men laughed at him and mocked him when he was detained.

“When they had shown me a photograph of a person and asked about him, I replied that I did not know anything about him. The person in the picture was not me, and that his name was different from that of mine,” he told Okaz.

Prosecutors said checks had shown that an arrest warrant issued by Turkey did not apply to the man. Earlier, a police source said he had been detained when a scan of his passport triggered an alert.