A tribunal of Saudi Arabia has sentenced this Monday to penalties of jail eight people for their role in the murder in 2018 from the journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, thus reducing the death penalty handed down in December against five of them.
The Prosecutor’s office The Saudi Arabia has detailed that these five people have been sentenced to 20 years in prison, while three others have received sentences of between seven and ten years in prison, according to the Saudi state news agency, SPA.
Likewise, he stressed that the rulings are final and that there is no longer any appealWhile it has not provided details on the identities of those convicted in the case, which sparked international criticism against the crown prince, Mohamed bin Salmán, for his alleged role in the murder.
The Saudi authorities announced in December that five people had been sentenced to capital punishment for the murder, although it was a ruling pending appeal. Saud al Qahtani, a former adviser to Bin Salmán and one of the main suspects, was released due to lack of evidence.
The prosecutor Shalaan al Shalaan said then that three other people had been sentenced to sentences totaling 24 years in prison for “committing and participating directly” in the murder, while the ‘number two’ of the Saudi Intelligence, Ahmed al Asiri, and the consul general of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul at the time of the crime, Mohamed al Otaibi, were exonerated.
Khashoggi, a journalist critical of the Saudi royal house and working for the ‘Washington Post’, disappeared on October 2, 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to manage some documents to be able to marry his girlfriend.
There, he was assassinated and dismembered and his body was taken out of the building, according to the official version offered by the Saudi authorities, after the scandal surrounding his disappearance and death internationally. His remains have not been found for now.
The journalist had publicly criticized the crown prince. The Saudi government has disassociated Bin Salmán from the assassination, despite the fact that UN experts have expressed doubts about it.
Indeed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard, who conducted an investigation into the case, said in June 2019 that evidence suggests that Bin Salmán and other senior officials would be responsible for the murder.
For its part, the Turkish Public Prosecutor’s Office in April requested life imprisonment against 20 Saudis for their alleged role in the murder and demanded his extradition from Riyadh, to which Saudi Arabia has refused defending its own accountability processes.
“PARODY OF JUSTICE”
Callamard herself was one of the first to react to the court ruling, which she called a “parody of justice.” “These verdicts do not have any legal or moral legitimacy,” she said, in a series of messages published through her account on the social network Twitter.
Thus, he has stated that the rulings “have come after a process that has not been fair or transparent” and has stressed that “the high-level officials who organized and carried out the execution of Khashoggi have been free from the beginning, without being practically touched by investigation and trial. “
“With regard to the individual responsibility of the person at the head of the State, the crown prince Mohamed bin Salmán, has remained well protected against any type of significant analysis in his country,” has criticized Callamard, who has stressed that “these verdicts they can’t cover up what happened. “
In this way, he has emphasized that “these verdicts should not reduce any pressure from governments” with the aim of “guaranteeing that all officials, including those at the highest level, are investigated, analyzed and denounced.”
Callamard has also asked the US intelligence services to “publish the assessment of Bin Salmán’s responsibilities in the murder of Khashoggi.” “While formal justice cannot be achieved in Saudi Arabia, the truth can be revealed,” he argued.
Finally, he applauded the commutation of the death sentences and added that “if these sentences had been carried out, they would have led to further arbitrary killings by Saudi Arabia and the permanent silencing of key witnesses to the execution (of Khashoggi) “.
JASHOGI’S PARTNER REFUSES SENTENCES
In a line similar to that of Callamard, Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s sentimental partner at the time of his murder, has expressed himself, who has rejected the sentences through a statement published through his Twitter account.
“The verdict delivered today in Saudi Arabia is again a total mockery of justice. The Saudi authorities are closing the case without the world knowing the truth about who was responsible for the murder of Jamal,” he lamented.
“Who planned it, who ordered it, where is the body?” He wondered. “These are the most basic and important questions that remain totally without an answer,” he criticized.
In this sense, Cengiz has stated that “the international community will not accept this farce.” “I am more determined than ever to fight for justice for Jamal,” she has settled.
Cengiz, a Turkish national, has been one of the most critical voices towards the Saudi authorities since the murder of Khashoggi and has demanded in various international forums that justice be done for the murder, while pointing directly against Bin Salmán.
In contrast, Salá Khashoggi, the journalist’s son, said in May that he and his brothers have “forgiven” their father’s murderers. After that, Cengiz stressed that “no one has the right to forgive the murderers.”