Five sentenced to death over murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death and jailed three others over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Three more people have been sentenced to jail terms totaling 24 years over the killing in Istanbul in October last year.
Washington Post columnist Khashoggi was a US resident and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
He was last seen entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding.
But inside, the writer was murdered by a team of Saudi agents. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building and his remains have still not been found.
The five people who faced the death penalty were Fahad Shabib Albalawi; Turki Muserref Alshehri; Waleed Abdullah Alshehri; Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence officer who the US said worked for Saud al-Qahtani; and Dr. Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, a forensic doctor with the interior ministry, according to Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
The Saudi public prosecutor said it was the result of a “rogue operation” and put 11 unnamed individuals on trial.
A UN expert has concluded that it was an “extrajudicial execution”.The trial, which took place behind closed doors, did not meet international standards and Saudi authorities had “obstructed meaningful accountability”, Human Rights Watch said.
Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard also called for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to be investigated over the killing.
But he has denied any involvement, but in October he said he took “full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government”.
The other six defendants were Mansour Othman Abahussain; Mohammed Saad Alzahrani; Mustafa Mohammed Almadani; Saif Saad Alqahtani; Muflih Shaya Almuslih, reportedly a member of the consulate staff; and Ahmad Asiri, the former deputy intelligence chief.