Saudi Arabia sentences five people to death for Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia sentences five people to death for Khashoggi’s killing
FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2019 file photo, a Turkish police officer walks past a picture of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi prior to a ceremony, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, marking the one-year anniversary of his death. A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 by a team of Saudi agents. Saudi Arabia’s state TV reported Monday, Dec. 23, 2019 that three others were sentenced to prison. All can appeal the verdicts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

Five people have been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after a court found them to be directly responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year.

According to Saudi state television, three others were found guilty of covering up the crime and given a combined prison sentence of 24 years. A total of 31 unnamed individuals were put on trial for the killing with 11 being charged.

Saudi deputy public prosecutor and spokesperson Shalaan Al-Shalaan said the court dismissed the charges against three of the 11 defendants, finding them not guilty. The murder was not premeditated and was committed in the “spur of the moment,” said Al-Shalaan.

A former royal court advisor, Saud al-Qahtani, was investigated and ultimately fired over the killing but was never charged due to insufficient evidence. Former Deputy Intelligence Chief Ahmad Asiri was similarly acquitted.

Khashoggi’s son Salah, who lives in Saudi Arabia, tweeted that justice for his father’s murder had been “achieved”.

“Today we have been granted justice as the children of the deceased, God willing, Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels, that it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved," he tweeted.

What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?

Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 for what was supposed to be an appointment to finalize documents for his impending marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. Khashoggi never left the consulate and his body has never been found.  

Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist and prominent Saudi government critic who was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S.

The 59-year-old journalist was confirmed to have been killed inside the consulate after audio retrieved by Turkish intelligence recorded conversations between Khashoggi and his killers.  

Grisly details about the killing, including allegations that the journalist’s body was chopped up using a bone saw, made headlines around the world and forced many of the kingdom’s western allies to reevaluate their relations.

What steps did the international community take in response to the murder?

Germany, Denmark and Finland suspended the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia following the murder. The US, a long time Saudi ally, did not take such measures.

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