A Saudi man suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been arrested in France, reports say.
Khaled Aedh Alotaibi was arrested at Charles-de-Gaulle airport on Tuesday, French media report.
He is one of 26 Saudis wanted by Turkey over the journalist’s killing.
The 33-year-old former Saudi royal guard was travelling under his own name and was placed in judicial detention, RTL radio said.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the government in Riyadh, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Saudi Arabia said the former Washington Post journalist had been killed in a “rogue operation” by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom.
But Turkish officials said the agents acted on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government.
The murder caused a global uproar and damaged the image of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has denied any role.
A Saudi court convicted eight unnamed people over the murder in 2019. Five of them were found guilty of directly participating in the killing and handed death sentences that were later commuted to 20-year prison terms, while three others were jailed for seven to 10 years for covering up the crime.
The Saudi trial was dismissed as “the antithesis of justice” by then-UN Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard, who concluded that Khashoggi was “the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution”.
A 2019 report by Ms Callamard said Saudi prosecutors ordered the arrest of Mr Alotaibi as part of an investigation into Khashoggi’s murder but ultimately decided not to charge him.
However, Mr Alotaibi is the subject of a Turkish arrest warrant and is being tried in absentia in Istanbul on a murder charge.
This latest development in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder will be extremely unwelcome in Riyadh. At the same time, it potentially offers a breakthrough in the unfinished investigation called for by the former UN special rapporteur and human rights groups.
As far as the Saudis are concerned, this story was over long ago when they put on trial a number of minor figures accused of involvement. This, they say, was a rogue operation and all those involved have now been prosecuted.
But Turkey, which bugged the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where the murder took place and so therefore has an intimate knowledge of what went on inside it, has accused more than 20 Saudi officials in absentia.
Western intelligence officials also believe that the most senior instigators of this pre-planned murder have escaped scot-free. If the suspect reportedly arrested in France is transferred to Turkey for trial, it is likely to trigger an intense diplomatic row.