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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Saudi court sentences five to death over Khashoggi murder

According to some analysts, the death sentence of these five people and exoneration of two top figures will lead to the concealment of truth forever.

Five people have been sentenced to death over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman(MBS) and had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States, on the basis of political asylum.

However, two top figures investigated over the killing have been exonerated, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor, Shalaan al-Shalaan, said on Monday, as reported by State TV.

“The court issued death sentences on five men who directly took part in the killing,” the prosecutor said in a statement.

Saudi prosecutors had said deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri oversaw the Washington Post columnist’s killing in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018 and that he was advised by the royal court’s media czar Saud al-Qahtani.

However, Qahtani was investigated but not indicted “due to insufficient evidence” and Assiri was investigated and charged but eventually acquitted on the same grounds, the statement said.

Of the 11 unnamed individuals indicted in the case, five were sentenced to death, three face jail terms totalling 24 years, and the others were acquitted. Particularly, the Former Saudi Consul-General to Istanbul (Turkey), Mohammad al-Otaibi, was buried and declared not-guilty by the Saudi Court. Following the decision, Otaibi was released from prison.

Read more: US lawmakers demand names of Khashoggi’s killers

The prosecutor said that the Riyadh court hearing the case held a total of nine sessions attended by representatives of the international community as well as Khashoggi’s relatives.

“We found that Khashoggi’s murder was not premeditated,” the statement said, therefore insinuating that there was no previous intent by those found guilty to murder. However, right after the murder took place at the Saudi Consulate, Istanbul, a body double of Khashoggi left the building wearing the victim’s clothes, giving indication of a meticulously pre-planned operation.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk.