Five men have been sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia’s obscure judiciary for the controversial kidnap, torture, murder, and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
While some three others have been given jail terms totalling 24 years related to the murder of the Washington Post journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Speaking on behalf of the prosecuting counsel, Shaalan al-Shaalan, his spokesman said,
“Our investigations show that there was no premeditation to kill at the beginning of the mission,”
“The killing was in the spur of the moment, when the head of the negotiating team inspected the premises of the consulate and realised that it was impossible to move the victim to a safe place to resume interrogations, to resume negotiations. The head of the negotiating team and the perpetrators then discussed and agreed to kill the victim inside the consulate.”
At least 10 officials, including two top ranking officials involved in the killing of the 59-year-old Washington resident, were exonerated.
The public prosecutor’s office said Saud al-Qahtani, a high-profile Saudi royal adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was investigated but released without charges.
The killing Mr Khashoggi, a critic of Prince Mohammed, caused a global uproar, though it ultimately failed to prevent western powers from selling Saudi Arabia advanced weapons and surveillance systems. Many of the global corporations that shunned oil-rich Saudi in the wake of the killing already are crawling back to the kingdom, looking for deals.
Saudi Arabia initially claimed it knew nothing about Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance after he entered the consulate building to obtain some paperwork, but eventually admitted under a torrent of leaked surveillance footage and travel documents that a death squad close to the Crown Prince had flown to Istanbul to capture and murder the writer in what it claimed was an unauthorised rogue operation.
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