Five jailed for 20 years over Jamal Khashoggi assassination

7 September 2020, 17:24

Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018
Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

A court in Saudi Arabia has issued its final verdicts for the killing of Washington Post columnist and prominent Saudi government critic Jamal Khashoggi, amidst concerns over the trial's independence.

At Riyadh Criminal Court five people were given 20-year sentences, while three received sentences ranging from seven to 10 years. Their names have not been made public.

The five given maximum sentences were initially sentenced to death in December, but were spared from execution after Khashoggi's family pardoned them.

Khashoggi was assassinated inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul after going there to pick up paperwork for his upcoming wedding in October 2018.

His body, which was reportedly dismembered by a team of Saudi Agents inside the embassy, has not been found.

The trial was widely criticised by rights groups and the independence of the court has been brought into question.

Amnesty International branded the verdict “a whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones”.

“The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.

Meanwhile a spokesperson said the United Nations Secretary-General wanted an investigation “to ensure full examination of and accountability for human rights violations committed in the case”.

Saudi Arabia's state television aired few details about the final verdicts issued by the Riyadh Criminal Court against the eight Saudi nationals.

Prior to his killing, Mr Khashoggi had written critically of the prince in columns for The Washington Post.

Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince and de-facto leader, has denied any knowledge of the operation, although, according to the Washington Post, the CIA concluded that he ordered the killing.

Among those reportedly ensnared in the killing are a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers and individuals who worked for the crown prince's office.