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Saudi Arabia sentences five to death for Khashoggi killing

Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to multiple reports.


The public prosecutor’s office said Monday that the five men had been sentenced to death for direct involvement in the killing of Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, The New York Times reported.

Three others were given a total of 24 years in prison for covering up the crime and violating other laws, according to the Times.

All can reportedly appeal the verdicts.

Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 after writing columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The names of the sentenced men were not released, but Saudi Arabia said that the crown prince's top aide, Saud al-Qahtani, was not tried because of a lack of evidence against him, the Times noted. The U.S. imposed sanctions on al-Qahtani last November over his alleged involvement in Khashoggi’s killing.

Last November, the CIA concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

The crown prince has said he played no role in the killing but bore responsibility because it happened on his watch, the Times noted.

UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard called the decision “anything BUT justice” for Khashoggi, in a series of tweets. Callamard in June released a 101-page report citing “credible evidence” supporting Saudi Arabia’s responsibility for the killing and recommended an investigation into the crown prince.

Callamard criticized the hearings for being held behind closed doors. She also again pushed for an investigation into the “chain of command to identify the masterminds, as well as those who incited, allowed or turned a blind eye to the murder,” including the crown prince.

“Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of Justice,” Callamard said. “It is a mockery.”

Post publisher Fred Ryan also criticized the findings Monday.

“The complete lack of transparency and the Saudi government's refusal to cooperate with independent investigators suggests that this was merely a sham trial,” he said in a statement. “Those ultimately responsible, at the highest level of the Saudi government, continue to escape responsibility for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

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