Saudi Arabian court issues final verdict for 8 people in death of Jamal Khashoggi

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Saudi Arabian court issues final verdict for 8 people in death of Jamal Khashoggi

Final convictions were issued for eight people involved in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution announced Monday.

The Criminal Court in Riyadh issued rulings against eight people in the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, the spokesperson said. Saudi Arabia previously convicted five people to death in December for Khashoggi’s killing.

Monday’s convictions came with varying sentences: five people were given 20 years in prison, another received a 10-year sentence, and the remaining two were ordered to serve seven years in prison.

None of the newly convicted people were identified Monday.

The death of Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and U.S. permanent resident, made international headlines as more details came to light regarding his death. Khashoggi was living in exile at the time of his death and was openly critical of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his columns.

Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2, 2018, after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork for his divorce in order to go forth with his pending marriage. He previously attempted to obtain this paperwork in Washington D.C. but was directed to Istanbul instead.

Turkish prosecutors concluded that Khashoggi had either been strangled or suffocated to death before his body was dismembered. The CIA has found that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing, a claim that has been firmly rejected by Riyadh.

A 101-page United Nations report concluded that while it may be unclear who issued the decisive order to kill Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia was ultimately responsible for his death. The report cited an audio recording from the Saudi consulate in which a voice tells Khashoggi that there is an order from Interpol to send him back to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian officials have offered varying accounts of what led to Khashoggi’s death. Former Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in 2018 that Khashoggi’s death was a result of a “rogue operation.”

Prosecutors said after last year’s convictions that there was no premeditated plan to kill Khashoggi, and that a group of men intended to kidnap the journalist but chose to kill him due to the difficulty of moving him.

But Saudi Arabia’s attorney general stated in 2018 that evidence provided by Turkish investigators indicated the “suspects in the incident had committed their act with a premeditated intention.”

Saudi Arabia’s trials in Khashoggi’s death have been criticized for the near-total secrecy in which they’ve been conducted and for the fact that no senior officials have been convicted in the death.

Charlene Gubash reported from Cairo, Egypt. Doha Madani reported from New York City.

The Associated Press contributed.

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