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Saudi court sentences suspects in Khashoggi murder

September 7, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Saudi Arabia has issued "final verdicts" against eight suspects in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 -- sentencing five of the defendants to 20 years in prison -- the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported, citing a public prosecutor spokesman.

(CNN)Saudi Arabia has issued "final verdicts" against eight suspects in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 -- sentencing five of the defendants to 20 years in prison -- the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported, citing a public prosecutor spokesman.

The verdicts come after Khashoggi's family "pardoned" five of the suspects in May, thereby sparing them the death penalty, CNN previously reported.

Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Killings who lead an independent investigation into the murder, called the verdicts a "parody of justice" on Monday.

"The 5 hit men are sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but the high-level officials who organized and embraced the execution of Jamal Khashoggi have walked free from the start -- barely touched by the investigation and trial," she added.

Khashoggi -- a Washington Post columnist and royal insider-turned-critic -- was killed and allegedly dismembered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, having gone into the building to collect documents for his upcoming wedding.

In December 2019, Saudi authorities said they were investigating 11 people involved in the Khashoggi murder.

Additionally, there was "no evidence" Saud al-Qahtani -- a former top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a member of his inner circle -- the Saudi Prosecution said in 2019.

The murder of Khashoggi drew international condemnation and the CIA concluded that bin Salman personally ordered the killing.

US officials, however, have said such a mission -- including 15 men sent from the Kingdom -- could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman.

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