Saudi Government Sentences 5 to Death Over Jamal Khashoggi Murder

Photo credits: Al-Jazeera

Almost a year and four months after his grisly, politically-motivated assassination, culprits have been convicted in a Saudi Arabian court for their role in murdering Jamal Khashoggi (pictured).

According to NBC News, the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s Twitter page contained a statement written by the nation’s public prosecutor, which detailed the judicial actions taken in the Khashoggi murder case.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said that these actions were taken on Monday (December 23) against culprits for “committing and directly participating” in the murder. Others were sentenced for their “role in covering up” the killing of the formerly prominent journalist.

A Saudi court handed down five death sentences against individuals who were suspected of being involved hands-on in the killing of Khashoggi. Three others were sentenced collectively to 24 years in prison for their role in the murder cover-up.

In a televised press conference, a leader inside Saudi Arabia’s national department of justice denied that there was premeditation in the execution of Khashoggi’s murder. The journalist was killed when the culprits found it would be too hard to move him elsewhere.

“There was no prior intention to kill him at the beginning of the mission and the death happened on the spot,” said Shaalan al-Shaalan, Saudi Arabia’s deputy public prosecutor.

The CIA has long suspected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of masterminding the killing of Khashoggi. The journalist was highly critical of the Saudi government and Bin Salman. Khashoggi spoke out against his nation’s acts of injustice in his many op-eds.

Saud al-Qahtani, a close top adviser to Bin Salman was cleared of any wrongdoing after being arrested, questioned, and put on trial. Ahmed al-Asiri, a former Saudi military leader and former deputy head of Saudi intelligence, was also cleared of any wrongdoing.

The names of the culprits who have been convicted in this case will not be made public until all their appeals have been exhausted.