The Attorney General’s Office of Saudi Arabia reported this reduction to 20 years in prison of the sentences of five defendants for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, who had been sentenced to death in first instance in December of last year. In addition, the court handed down a prison sentence of 10 years for one convicted person and 7 years for another two, without revealing the identities of any of the accused.
The spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office affirmed that the rulings took into consideration the “legal right to resign from the family of the murdered person” and are “final and must be applied.”
Last December, the Sanctions Court sentenced five people to death for their complicity and participation in the murder of Khashoggi, and three other defendants to jail terms totaling 24 years for cover-up. However, the Justice acquitted two of the main defendants: Saud al Qahtani, adviser to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, and the deputy director of the Saudi secret services, Ahmed Asiri.
The court found insufficient evidence either against them or against the Saudi consul in Istanbul, Mohamed Al Otaibi, in whose office the journalist was allegedly murdered and dismembered.
In May this year, Khashoggi’s children announced that they were forgiving their father’s murderers, coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan. According to Islamic law, relatives can forgive the murderer of their loved ones and that forgiveness can lead to suspension the execution of the death sentence.