Saudi court sentences 5 to death for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing
search

Saudi court sentences 5 to death for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing

3 more suspects get prison sentences for October 2018 murder of columnist by Saudi agents at Istanbul embassy that shocked the world

In this photo taken on December 15, 2014, Jamal Khashoggi looks on at a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP/Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
In this photo taken on December 15, 2014, Jamal Khashoggi looks on at a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP/Mohammed Al-Shaikh)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A court in Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced five people to death for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year by a team of Saudi agents.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV channel reported that three others were sentenced to prison. All can appeal the verdicts.

The crown prince drew international condemnation for the killing because several Saudi agents involved worked directly for him. The kingdom denies that Prince Mohammed bin Salman had any involvement or knowledge of the operation.

State TV also reported the Saudi attorney general’s investigation showed that the crown prince’s former top adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, had no proven involvement in the killing. Al-Qahtani, however, has been sanctioned by the United States for his alleged role in the operation.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on September 18, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/Pool Photo via AP)

The court also ruled that the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at the time, Mohammed al-Otaibi, was not guilty. He was released from prison after the verdicts were announced, according to state TV.

After holding nine sessions, the trial concluded that there was no previous intent by those found guilty to murder, according to state TV.

The trials of the accused were carried out in near total secrecy, though a handful of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family were allowed to attend the sessions.

The killing had shocked the world and drawn condemnation from the international community, including the United Nations.

People hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the United States about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Khashoggi had walked into his country’s consulate in Istanbul on that morning in October 2018 to collect documents that would allow him to wed his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who waited for him outside. He never walked out.

Agnes Callamard, a UN special rapporteur who authored an inquiry into Khashoggi’s killing, later said the search for justice must not be left to the Saudi judicial system, which is “so vulnerable to political interference.”

US President Donald Trump condemned the killing, and his administration sanctioned 17 Saudis suspected of being involved, though not the crown prince. Trump, however, has steadfastly resisted calls by members of his own party for a tougher response and has defended maintaining good relations with Saudi Arabia, framing its importance as a major buyer of US military equipment and weapons and saying this creates American jobs.

Meanwhile, numerous critics of the Saudi crown prince remained imprisoned and face trial for their dissent.

read more:
comments