Saudi Arabia sentenced 5 people to death and 3 more to jail over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

  • Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three more to jail over the murder Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom’s public prosecutor said Monday.
  • The Washington Post journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in 2018, where his captives reportedly joked about it in advance. He was apparently suffocated to death.
  • The Kingdom’s crown prince denied knowing of the killing in advance or ordering it, though this has been questioned by experts, and a report from the United Nations.
  • Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor also said that Saud al-Qahtani, a former high-profile adviser the crown prince, had been found not guilty by the court.
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Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three more to jail over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The kingdom’s public prosecutor announced on Monday that there would be “capital punishment” for five people “for committing and directly participating in the murder of the victim.”

There will be “different sentences amounting to a total of (24) years in prison for (3) individuals for their role in covering up the crime and violating the law.”

Three other people – including Saud al-Qahtani, a former high-profile adviser to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman – were found not guilty by the court, the statement said. Ten other defendants were release due to insufficient evidence.

The trials were carried out in almost total secrecy.

Jamal Khashoggi with a cat.

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Jamal Khashoggi with a cat.
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Screenshot/Twitter/Hatice Cengiz

The statement comes as the country tries to further distance itself from the death of the journalist, who was critical of the Saudi regime, in October 2018. He was last seen inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The country’s leadership, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have claimed to be unaware of the killing and said it was not ordered by the country, though international experts have questioned how this could be possible.

Saudi Arabia also repeatedly changed its story, first claiming that Khashoggi had left the consulate and later saying that it was a rogue operation, while the CIA reportedly found that the crown prince personally ordered the killing.

Bin Salman has denied this, though the UN said it was “inconceivable” that he was unaware of the order.

The country is currently trying to rehabilitate its image, including through inviting influencers on lavish trips and strengthening ties with the US.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaking at Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on October 24.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaking at Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on October 24.
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Future Investment Initiative

Gruesome reports of Khashoggi’s death claim that his killers called him a “sacrificed animal” and joked about having “a coffee and cigar on hand”

The official UN investigation, published in June this year, found that he was likely drugged with sedatives and suffocated with a plastic bag.

His final words were reportedly: “I can’t breathe.”