Saudi Arabia will seek the death penalty against at least five suspects in the slaying of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Prosecutors announced Thursday night (Australian time) that 11 suspects in the murder attended their first court hearing with lawyers.
The statement from prosecutors did not name those in court.
It also did not explain why seven other suspects arrested over Mr Khashoggi’s October 2 killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul did not immediately face formal charges.
The kingdom previously announced 18 people had been arrested.
Saudi officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The killing of Mr Khashoggi, who wrote columns critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has strained the decades-long ties the kingdom enjoys with the United States.
It also has added to a renewed international push to end the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency and state television gave few details about the hearing.
“The Public Prosecutor demanded imposing proper punishments against the defendants and is seeking capital punishment for five of the defendants for their direct involvement in the murder,” a statement from prosecutors said, without elaborating.
The suspects requested copies of the indictments they faced, as well as asked for more time to prepare for their case, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also alleged that Turkish officials did not answer two formal requests made for evidence in the case.
“To date, the Saudi Public Prosecutor has not received any response, and the Public Prosecution is still awaiting their response,” the statement said.
Officials in Ankara could not be immediately reached for comment.
Turkish officials have previously said they shared evidence with Saudi Arabia and other nations over Khashoggi’s killing.
Khashoggi, 59, entered the consulate on October 2 as his fiancee waited outside.
A team of Saudi officials had flown in before his arrival and laid in wait for him.
Saudi Arabia denied for weeks that Khashoggi had been killed but later changed its story and ultimately acknowledged the brutal slaying.
King Salman ordered the restructuring of the country’s intelligence service, but has so far shielded Prince Mohammed, his 33-year-old son who is next in line to the throne in the oil giant kingdom.
Saudi Arabia executed at least 146 people in 2017, making it the world’s third top executioner that year behind China and Iran, according to Amnesty International.
It regularly beheads those condemned to death.