New York, December 23, 2019 — The Saudi public prosecutor’s office announced today that a court had sentenced five people to death and three to jail terms for their roles in the October 2018 killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, which took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to news reports. The prosecutor’s office did not identify the individuals by name, and described the killing as “spontaneous,” according to the same reports.
Former Deputy Intelligence Chief Ahmed al-Asiri was acquitted due to lack of evidence, and Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was investigated but not charged in the murder, according to Saudi state-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya.
“Conducting a sham trial for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and sentencing five people to death shows that the Saudi government under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is committed to an ongoing mockery of justice,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. “The international community, including the U.S., must not allow Saudi Arabia to keep evading justice in the Khashoggi case.”
In June, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary killings, issued a report finding that the disappearance of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year “constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible.”