MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution has announced the final sentences for the eight people convicted of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
Five of them were jailed for 20 years for their involvement in the killing, one for 10 years and two for seven years. The verdict is final and must be enforced, the prosecution added.
The Khashoggi family called the judgment fair and dissuasive, Al Arabiya reported early Monday.
Khashoggi was murdered on Oct. 2, 2018 at the Kingdom’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul. He had gone there to complete paperwork relating to his divorce.
Five of those convicted had previously been sentenced to death. However, the journalist’s family in May said that they had forgiven their father’s killers. Under the Kingdom’s law, such a decision by a victim’s relatives means the killers can be spared the death penalty, though they still face punishment under public law.
Legal expert Muhammad Al-Mahmoud said that the ruling closes a case that made headlines around the world. It was dealt with in an objective and impartial manner that followed all legal principles, and was not influenced by public opinion, he added.
“Very heavy sentences were issued for the direct perpetrators of the criminal act, and for their assistants who took part in the crime and agreed to it,” Al-Mahmoud said. “Imprisonment for a period of 20 years for five people who had a direct impact on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is, in fact, a victory for justice, for society and for public opinion.
“Although the (family has forgiven the killers), and this is a mitigating factor, the judiciary in the Kingdom has another opinion, which is general deterrence (and) that the human soul must be respected, whatever its color, gender, beliefs, or religious or political orientation.”
He added: “Every person who holds Saudi nationality and every resident of the Kingdom is protected by the law, and it is not permissible under any circumstances to violate it by any illegal means. Rather, the person at fault is brought to a fair trial in which the guarantees stipulated in the regulations are fulfilled, and he is tried accordingly.”