On September 7, Monday, a Saudi court revised the sentences of all the eight convicted persons in the Jamal Khashoggi murder trial. According to the revised sentences, five of the convicts were given a 20-year prison sentence. Three others were given sentences ranging from 7 to 10 years in jail.
The court on Monday overturned the death sentences that were pronounced on five of the convicts in December last year. This is after Jamal Khashoggi’s sons stated in May that they have “pardoned” the killers of their father.
Originally, 11 people were charged for Khashoggi’s murder, which took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The charges against three of the accused were dropped during the trial.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s finance, called the court ruling a “farce.” “The Saudi authorities are closing the case without the world knowing the truth of who is responsible for Jamal’s murder,” she tweeted.
Agnes Callamard, UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, welcomed the fact that the death sentences were commuted but in a series of tweets called the final judgement “a parody of justice” and asked the governments “and particularly the P5 that silently observed the trials in Riyadh, to ensure that the involvement of all officials, including those at the top, be investigated, brought to light, denounced.”
#JamalKhashoggi: 1.The Saudi Prosecutor performed one more act today in this parody of justice. But these verdicts carry no legal or moral legitimacy. They came at the end of a process which was neither fair, nor just, or transparent. https://t.co/nt4n2CqS21
— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) September 7, 2020
Jamal Khashoggi was a US-based Saudi journalist working for the Washington Post. He had been critical of Saudi ruling classes and particularly the crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman. Several western investigative agencies have concluded that prince Salman and other high ranking officials in the Saudi government had a role in the killing of the dissident journalist. The Saudi government, however, had denied the allegations.
The body of the slain 59-years-old journalist was never found. Turkish investigators believe it was dissolved in acid after the murder. There is a separate trial going on in the case in Turkey.