Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia reduces Khashoggi killers’ death sentence to 20 years imprisonment

NEWS DIGEST – Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to 20 years in prison for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, replacing death sentences issued in 2019.

Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.

Saudi Arabia enforces basic Islamic laws, which allow a death penalty to be commuted if a murder victim’s family has forgiven the killers or accepted a payment, known as “diya” in Arabic.

Monday’s commuted sentences come after the sons of Khashoggi said in May they had forgiven their father’s killers.

These are the final verdicts and were issued after the “relatives of the deceased dropped their legal right,” the kingdom’s top prosecutor said in a statement on Monday.

Three others were also convicted in the case, and were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail.

Turkey claims Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi hit squad and his body was dismembered after he entered the consulate to obtain paperwork to marry Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting for him outside.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said that the Washington Post columnist’s death was a “rogue operation” and denied that powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely viewed as the kingdom’s de facto ruler, was involved.

Khashoggi was once close to the Saudi royal family but became a vocal critic of Mohammed. His remains were never found.

dpa/NAN