On Monday, a Saudi Court handed death sentence to 5 people in the case of murder of Washington Post Columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018 and allegedly there were Saudi agents involved in the killing.
Saudi Arabia’s TV channel, Al-Ekhbariya, reported that 3 more people involved in the case were sentence to prison, all of the convicts can appeal to the higher court against the verdicts.
A lot of international attention went towards Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Crown Prince, for his alleged involvement in the murder as many of the Saudi agents named in the case worked directly for him. However, the state has continuously denied Prince Salman’s involvement or knowledge of the operation in which journalist Khashoggi was killed.
Al-Ekhbariya, state run TV channel, also said that in the investigations carried out by Saudi Attorney General showed that it cannot be proved that Prince Salman’s ex-top adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, had any involvement in Khashoggi’s killing. However, the US (United States) have sanctioned al-Qahtani for his involvement in the killing operation.
The Saudi court even ruled that the, then, Saudi consul general in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Qtaibi, is not guilty in the case, according to the state run TV channel, he was released from the prison soon after the verdict was announced.
The court held 9 sessions to conclude the trail and found that convicts has no previous intent to murder Khasgoggi according to the TV channel.
The trail was carried out in secrecy, with just a handful of diplomats (including diplomats from Turkey), and Khashoggi’s family members were allowed to attend the sessions. A total of 11 people were in trail for killing of Khashoggi.
The judgement was read by the spokesperson of the Attorney General’s Office, Shaalan al-Shaalan and broadcasted on the state run TV channel. The names of people found guilty were not disclosed. Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office said that they are now looking into the judgements passed by the Riyadh’s Criminal Court to see if they need to move to the appellate court.
The 3 people who were handed the prison sentence will serve a total time of 24 years amongst them, however, their individual prison term was not shared. There were 3 more who were accused in the case but were later found not guilty and released along with others who were simply found not guilty during investigations.
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi, journal and columnist of The Washington Post, and GM and Editor in Chief of Al-Arab News Channel shocked the world and drew criticism from all over the globe, including the UN (United Nations).
Uber faced major backlash as the company CEO comments on Khashoggi’s killing. #BoycottUber trended on twitter and spread like wildfire.
Read the article here: Uber facing major backlash over CEO’s comments
Khashoggi was seen walking inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to collect documents in order to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate the entire time. However, neither Khashoggi walked out of the consulate, nor his body was ever found.
UN’s special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, authored the inquiry in Khashoggi’s killing said that the search of justice should not be left up to the Saudi Judicial system as it is “Vulnerable to political interference”.
Even US President Donald Trump condemned the murder of Khashoggi’s killing, and the US administration sanctioned 17 Saudi nationals suspected in being involved in the killing, however, they did not add the Saudi Crown Prince, Salman, in the list. Furthermore, after the sanctions, Trump himself avoided calls by his own party members asking for tougher response, Trump wants to retain the good relations that US has with Saudi Arabia, asserting the fact that it is a major buyer of US military weapons and equipment which helps the country generate jobs.
Many of Saudi Crown Prince’s critics are still in prison and are facing trials for their act of rebellion against him.