Riyadh / Beirut: A Saudi Arabian court on Monday jailed eight people for seven and 20 years for the 2018 murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with state media pardoning their killers and setting the death penalty aside Reported four months later.
The trial was criticized by a United Nations official and human rights campaigners who said the masterminds of the killing remained independent.
Khashogi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 at the Saudi Consulate, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. His body was reportedly removed from the building and his remains have not been found.
The assassination created a global uproar and tarnished the reformist image of Prince Mohammad, the real ruler of the state and son of King Salman.
State media reported that five people were sentenced to 20 years in prison, one to 10 years and two to seven years for murder.
None of the defendants were named.
Motseem Khashogi, a lawyer for the Khashogi family, told the Al Sharq Al Aswat newspaper that the family welcomes and is satisfied with the “fair and preventive” regime.
Khashogi Al Sharook says, “The verdict is fair and harmful to any criminal … We as a family choose to enforce (Islamic) Sharia laws right from the beginning and there is no court in the world that is sharia Enforces the rules. ” Al Aswat Newspaper.
He said, “We have given our command to God and our rulers, who have fulfilled their promise, all our thanks, praise, gratitude and loyalty go to them.”
But Khashogi’s fiance said the eight jails were not the only ones responsible for the murder.
“Saudi authorities are closing the case without the world responsible for Jamal’s murder,” Hattis Keniz wrote in a statement. “Who planned it, who ordered it, where is his body?”
In December, the court sentenced five people to death and three to prison, stating that the killing was not pre-planned, but carried out at a “spur of the moment”.
ABROAD to CRITICISM
Some Western governments as well as the CIA have previously stated that they believe Prince Mohammed ordered the assassination.
Saudi authorities denied that he had played a role, although in September 2019, the prince indicated some personal accountability, saying “it happened under my watch.”
In May, the family of the slain journalist said it pardoned its killers, paving the way for the five defendants to be sentenced to death.
In Saudi Arabia, which lacks a codified legal system and follows Islamic law, an apology from the victim’s family may allow for a formal pardon and execution in such cases.
A US State Department official said Washington had seen the report of the sentence and was “closely monitoring Saudi legal procedures” in the case. “We ask Saudi officials to ensure that everyone was involved in Khashogi’s murder, which King Salman called a” heinous crime “, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Several Saudis supported the ruling in comments on Twitter on Monday, a platform of pro-government supporters. Some said the ruling ended one of the most difficult political matters the state has faced. Others said the ruling made Saudi Arabia a “land of justice”, “a country where rights are never lost.”
But Agnes Calmard, in particular for the UN’s extravagant, summary or arbitrary execution, alleged that Saudi Arabia made a “mockery of justice” and did not punish the more senior officials who said they were behind the assassination .
He said on Twitter that the trial was not fair or transparent and that “the responsibility of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has not been addressed.”
Adam Kogole, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, said the individuals’ punishment “does not hide the fact that the Saudi legal process has shielded top officials from any and all investigations.”
“How can the regime be charged with murder and at the same time it is responsible for trial?” Yahiya Asiri, founder of London-based Saudi rights group ALQST.
Turkey, which began its trial against 20 Saudi officials in July, said the decision in Saudi Arabia fell short of expectations, urging Saudi authorities to cooperate in Turkey’s investigation.
“We still don’t know what happened to Khashogi’s body, who wanted him dead or if there were local allies – who doubts the credibility of the legal proceedings at the KSA,” President Communications Director Fahretin Altas said on Twitter, referring to Saudi But said, Arab.
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