Five people have been sentenced to die by Saudi Arabia's judiciary system while the other three were handed down jail terms for the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Chief Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan announced Monday.
Saud al-Qahtani, a former high-profile government aide also under investigation for the killing of the Washington Post's Saudi columnist, has been acquitted.
Khashoggi's murder triggered Saudi Arabia’s biggest diplomatic crisis since the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 as world leaders and business executives sought to distance themselves from Riyadh.
The columnist was murdered in October 2018 after walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz. The Saudi monarchy has been linked to the case. A UN report said that evidence suggests the execution would have required significant government coordination, resources, and finances.
Every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, known shortly as MbS] being aware at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched, the report by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard said.
In Khashoggi's last published column for the Washington Post, he wrote about press freedom in the Arab World.
A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change, he said.