A Saudi Arabian court on Monday handed down final judgment on the eight accused of murdering Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, according to Saudi Arabia’s state television.
According to the Washington Examiner, all eight accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi were found guilty and will face different prison sentences. However, none of the men will face the death penalty or life in prison. Several of the men involved in the plot had close ties to the Saudi Prince whom Khashoggi targeted in critical opinion pieces for the Washington Post.
The names of those convicted were not made public. The Riyadh Criminal Court convicted eight Saudi Arabian citizens, five of whom received 20-year prison sentences, one received a 10-year sentence, and the remaining two received seven years each.
The trial was criticized by some human rights groups and an independent UN investigator questioning the real independence of the court that carried out the trial.
They also pointed out that no high-ranking official or any suspects who ordered the killing were convicted. According to the journalist’s defenders, Saudi Arabian government authorities were involved in the murder.
Before his death, Jamal Khashoggi wrote critically in his columns for the Washington Post about Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Crown Prince had been in exile in the United States since 2017.
The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi
Khashoggi was killed in late 2018 inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, where the journalist attended to acquire some documentation he needed for his future marriage. His fiancée accompanied him and waited for him outside the consulate.
Khashoggi was murdered by a group of Saudi citizens inside the consulate, and then his dismembered body was removed. The Saudi Arabian government denied all accusations linking its agents to the assassination.
According to the BBC, Turkish authorities had the audio and video evidence of the murder in their possession from the beginning, although it was not made public. Turkish media with close ties to the government published horrifying details about the alleged audio. Screams and the voice of the consul Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the recording. The consul said that they should not do that inside their facilities because it would put him in trouble.
President Trump followed the events closely and offered U.S. cooperation by making himself available throughout the process of investigating the journalist’s murder.
A few days after the murder, Fox News reported, a statement signed by White House Secretary Sarah Sanders said:
“The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far … We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process. We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancée, and friends.”