Sons of murdered Saudi journalist Khashoggi ‘forgive’ killers
Sons of murdered Saudi journalist Khashoggi ‘forgive’ killers
Khashoggi family forgives their father's killers
22 May, 2020, 20:52
"This is why we, the sons of the martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce that we forgive and pardon those who participated in the killing of our father".
The family of the journalist - who was an outspoken critic of Saudi royals before his grisly murder at Riyadh's embassy in Istanbul in October 2018 - signaled in December that they would not oppose the verdicts handed out to those implicated in the case.
In December, Saudi Arabia said that five people were sentenced to death for Khashoggi's murder after a year-long trial that was criticised for its secrecy.
"There were reports that the family was paid blood money by the Saudi Government - which were denied by Mr Khashoggi's son Salah", he said.
In all, 11 people were put on trial in Saudi Arabia over the killing.
"Other legal procedures by the state continue".
The announcement drew anger from Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who said "no one" had the right to pardon his murderers.
"His ambush and heinous murder does not have a statute of limitations", Cengiz said on Twitter. "We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing", she added.
Turkish officials say Khashoggi, 59, was strangled and his body was cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi group inside the kingdom's mission.
Investigators believe that he was murdered and dismembered while she waited outside, but his remains have never been recovered.
Saudi media outlet Arab News sought to clarify Friday that the announcement made by Khashoggi's sons may spare the convicted killers from execution, but does not mean they will go unpunished.
The Washington Post reported a year ago that Khashoggi's children, including Salah, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by authorities. Additionally, the finding was in line with the government's official explanation of Khashoggi's slaying that he was killed accidentally in a brawl by agents trying to forcibly return him to Saudi Arabia.
"To suggest that this act of forgiveness was voluntary is to ignore the tremendous political and social pressure likely being exerted on the sons from the same centre of political power that was behind their father's killing".
"What this essentially means is that the killers will avoid capital punishment since that is a right the family (under sharia law) has to forgive", Ali Shihabi, an analyst close to the Saudi government said on Twitter.
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard concluded in an earlier report that Khashoggi's murder was a "deliberate, premeditated execution" and encouraged an investigation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Three others were acquitted, according to the public prosecutor.
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