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Khashoggi: Saudi Court Sentences 5 Men to Death Over Gruesome Killing

(RIYADH) – After one year of deflections and denials regarding the disappearance of, and the alleged gruesome killing of 59 year-old Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi court has now sentenced five suspects to death in connection with the international incident. In addition to the five, another three suspects have been handed 24 year prison sentences for their alleged role in the killing.

According to prosecutors, senior Saudi royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani was investigated, but then released without charge “due to insufficient evidence”.

The grisly murder of Khashoggi was said to have taken place int the Saudi embassy in Istanbul in October 2018, when he was collecting documents for his marriage to a Turkish national. Reports at the time claimed that the journalist was captured and then tortured, before his body was chopped into pieces and disposed of. However, to date, neither body nor the murder weapon has ever been found, and no forensic evidence of the alleged event has ever been released to the public.

Authorities do claim to have heard audio recordings of conversations involving the victim and belligerents recorded inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul – recordings captured by Turkish intelligence and which are said to be definitive proof of the murder.

According to UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, there exists credible evidence warranting further investigation into the matter, specifically regarding the role of high-level Saudi officials in the incident, namely Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A recent BBC report describes the now official version of events as follows:

Saudi Arabia’s deputy public prosecutor Shalaan Shalaan told reporters in November 2018 that the murder was ordered by the head of a “negotiations team” sent to Istanbul by the Saudi deputy intelligence chief to bring Khashoggi back to the kingdom “by means of persuasion” or, if that failed, “by force”.

Investigators concluded that Khashoggi was forcibly restrained after a struggle and injected with a large amount of a drug, resulting in an overdose that led to his death, Mr Shalaan said. His body was then dismembered and handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the consulate, he added. The remains were not found.

At a news conference in Riyadh on Monday, Mr Shaalan said the public prosecution’s investigations had shown that “there was no premeditation to kill at the beginning of the mission”.

In late 2018, the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had indeed ordered the assassination of Khashoggi in Istanbul. The agency’s claim was based on an assessment where officials are said they have “high confidence” that a team of 15 Saudi agents were sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi on the orders of the Crown Prince, and even flew in government jet, according to a report filed by the Washington Post, who outlined the provenance of CIA’s intelligence assessment as follows:

“In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence.

It is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother’s direction, according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.”

In a public statement this past October bin Salman denied any role in the murder but said that he still took “full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia.”

READ MORE KHASHOGGI NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Khashoggi Files




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