A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced five people to death for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and three others were sentenced to a total of 24 years in jail, the Public Prosecutor said during a press conference.
Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist, was murdered on October 2, 2018 at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. He was visiting the consulate to complete paperwork related to his divorce.
The sentences were announced by the Public Prosecutor at a press conference held in Riyadh.
All those suspected of involvement in the murder case were interrogated by the Public Prosecution. Those indicted were transferred to court. Those not indicted were released, the Public Prosecutor said.
Saud al-Qahtani, former Saudi Royal Court Advisor, was investigated in the case but was not charged, the Public Prosecutor said.
Former Deputy Intelligence Chief Ahmed al-Asiri had been investigated and indicted then transferred to court. The court’s verdict was that he was to be released due for the lack of sufficient evidence.
The investigations concluded that there was no premeditation to commit the murder.
“The murder was spontaneous,” said the Public Prosecutor. “When the leader of the negotiations team inspected the consulate and he discovered that it was impossible to transfer the victim Jamal Khashoggi to a safe place to complete the negotiations with him, it was agreed upon and discussed between the head of the negotiations team and the perpetrators to kill the victim inside the consulate.”
Representatives of the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as a representative from Turkey were present during the trials, according to the Public Prosecutor.
Khashoggi’s sons and their lawyer were also present during the trials.
The Public Prosecutor said only one letter rogatory was received out of 13 requested from the Turkish side to provide evidence they have from the crime scene.
The one letter rogatory received was with regards to the Saudi Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi who was released by the Public Prosecution.
“[The] letter rogatory included testimony by Turkish citizens that the Saudi consul with them the day the crime was committed,” said the Public Prosecutor.
Different sentences totaling 24 years were handed down to three individuals “for their role in covering up this crime and violating the law,” the Public Prosecutor added in a statement.
“This was a heinous crime,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired in September.
At the time of the murder, the authorities arrested 18 Saudis for investigation and the Public Prosecutor subsequently indicted 11 people. The court found three people not guilty, the statement said.
The names of those involved in the murder of Khashoggi will be released after the final verdict, says the Public Prosecutor.