Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death on Monday, Dec. 23, for the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew sharp international criticism and marred the crown prince’s relationship with members of Congress in Washington, according to The Associated Press.
The Riyadh criminal court found another three people guilty of covering up the crime. They were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, according to a statement read by the Saudi attorney general’s office on state TV.
In total, 11 people had been on trial in Saudi Arabia for the killing, but the government has not made their names public. All the verdicts are preliminary and can be appealed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia announced the news on Twitter on Monday, Dec. 23.
“Capital punishment for (5) individuals for committing and directly participating in the murder of citizen Jamal Khashoggi.”
Saudia Arabia’s public prosecutor said, “Different sentences amounting to a total of (24) years in prison for (3) individuals for their role in covering up this crime and violating the law.”
It also said that the court dismissed “charges against (3) individuals and found them to be not guilty.”
Khashoggi, who was a resident of the U.S., had walked into his country’s consulate on Oct. 2, 2018 for a scheduled appointment to pick up documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancee. He never walked out and his body has not been found.
A team of 15 Saudi agents were flown specifically to Turkey to meet Khashoggi that day inside the consulate. They included a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers, and individuals who worked for the crown prince’s office, according to an independent U.N. probe.
His death stunned Saudi Arabia’s Western allies and immediately raised questions about how the high-level operation could have been carried out without the knowledge of Prince Mohammed bin Salman—even as the kingdom insists the crown prince had nothing to do with the killing, The Associated Press reported.
In Washington, Congress has said it believes Prince Mohammed is “responsible for the murder.” President Donald Trump has condemned the killing, but he’s stood by the 34-year-old crown prince and defended U.S.-Saudi ties. Washington has sanctioned 17 Saudis suspected of being involved.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press