A Saudi court has issued a final verdict on Monday in 2018, killing journalist and dissident Jamal Khashogi, according to state television.
The names of those convicted were not made public, but the Riyadh Criminal Court allegedly ordered a maximum sentence of 20 years to five years in prison. Another received a 10-year sentence and two others were ordered to serve seven years in prison.
Yet the trial has been widely criticized by rights groups and an independent UN investigator, who noted that neither any senior officer nor anyone was suspected of ordering the assassination. The independence of the court has also been brought under question.
Visiting Saudi officials in Turkey for Murid of Kaurigarhi
Prior to his assassination, Khashogi wrote critically to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a column for the Washington Post. He had been living in exile in the United States for nearly a year as Prince Mohammed cracked down on human rights activists, writers, and critics of the state’s disastrous war in Yemen.
Khashoggi was killed in late 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
A team of 15 Saudi agents flew inside Turkey to the consulate for his appointment to meet Khashogi to marry his Turkish fiancée, who was waiting outside. According to Agnes Calmard, who investigated the assassination for the United Nations, the team consisted of a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officer who worked directly for the Crown Prince’s office.
Turkish officials allege Khashogi was killed and then seen with a bone inside the consulate. His body has not been found. Turkey apparently had a Saudi consulate and shared audio of the assassination with the CIA.
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Western intelligence agencies, as well as the US Congress, have stated that the crown is the ultimate responsibility for the assassination of the prince and that this magnitude could not have been conducted without his knowledge. But the prince of the Taj has denied any knowledge of the operation.
One of the author’s sons, Salah Khashogi, lives in Saudi Arabia and has received financial compensation from the royal court for the murder of his father.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.