RIYAZ/ KARACHI (ENNS/ MD) Saudi Arabia slapped imprisonment sentences on eight people for murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a few months after his family pardoned the victim’s killers and agreed to have the death penalty abolished.
Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.
State media reported that five people were handed 20-year prison sentences, one person was sentenced to 10 years and two people were handed seven-year sentences for the killing.
None of the defendants were named.
At an earlier stage of the trial in December, the court sentenced five people to death and three to jail saying then that the killing was not premeditated, but carried out “at the spur of the moment”. Again, none of the defendants were named.
Saudi officials denied the prince had played a role in the murder, though in September 2019 the prince indicated some personal accountability, saying “it happened under my watch”.
In May, the family of the slain journalist said they forgave his murderers, paving the way for a reprieve for the five defendants sentenced to death.
In Saudi Arabia, which lacks a codified legal system and follows Islamic law, forgiveness from a victim’s family in such cases can allow for a formal pardon and a stay of execution.