Crime & Justice

Saudi Arabia reduces sentences for five convicted of Khashoggi murder

Riyadh, Sept 7 (EFE-EPA).- Death sentences handed to five people convicted over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s have been reduced  to 20 years in prison, the Saudi public prosecutor office announced on Monday.

A Riyadh court also sentenced three others to 10 years in prison, while two people have been handed seven-year jail sentence, the source said without revealing the convicts’ identities.

The verdicts are “final and enforceable,” a spokesperson for the public prosecutor office told the state-run SPA news agency.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist in exile and former columnist with the Washington Post, where he was critical of the Kingdom’s rulers, was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 when he entered to obtain documents that would enable him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

After initially refuting the accusations, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi had died at its consulate.

The Saudi kingdom insisted that the Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman had not had any prior knowledge of the operation in Istanbul, whose original aim supposedly was to bring Khashoggi back to Riyadh.

Khashoggi’s slaying caused a major diplomatic uproar across the Middle East and saw Saudi Arabia scale back its foreign activities in Yemen and in other spheres.

In December, five people were sentenced to death over their apparent involvement in Khashoggi’s murder and other three were handed a total of 24 years in prison for covering up the crime.

The court, however, absolved two main accused, Saud al-Qahtani, an advisor to bin Salman, and Ahmed Asiri, the deputy chief of Saudi intelligence services.

The court did not find enough evidence against them or Mohamed al-Qtaibi, the Saudi consul in Istanbul, in whose office the journalist was allegedly killed and dismembered.

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