Khashoggi’s chil­dren ‘par­don’ his killers

5 Saudi govt agents spared death sen­tence, to pay blood money

The Asian Age - - FRONT PAGE -

Is­tan­bul, May 22: The chil­dren of slain Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi have pub­licly for­given their father’s killers, spar­ing five govern­ment agents the death penalty.

Salah Khashoggi, the late jour­nal­ist’s el­dest son, posted the par­don in a tweet on Fri­day. “On this vir­tu­ous night of (Ra­madan), we re­call the words of God Almighty... who­ever par­dons and makes rec­on­cil­i­a­tions, his re­ward is from Al­lah,” read the state­ment, re­fer­ring to Laylit el Qader (the Night of Power), con­sid­ered by Is­lam to be the holi­est night of the year.

“So we, the sons of the mar­tyr Ja­mal Khashoggi, an­nounce that we have par­doned (those) who killed our father,” the fam­ily added in the state­ment.

Mus­lim govern­ments typ­i­cally is­sue par­dons in the month of Ramzan. Ac­cord­ing to Saudi law, a par­don from a son of a mur­der vic­tim serves as a le­gal re­prieve.

The fam­i­lies of the con­victs are now li­able to pay blood money to Khashoggi’s fam­ily. If they can’t af­ford to make the pay­ment, the state can pay in­stead, in ad­di­tion to state money al­ready given to the fam­ily.

Hat­ice Cen­giz, the Turk­ish fi­ancee of mur­dered Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, said Fri­day “no one” had the right to par­don his mur­der­ers. Khashoggi — a royal fam­ily in­sider turned critic — was killed and dis­mem­bered at the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul in Oc­to­ber 2018, spark­ing global out­cry and deal­ing a blow to the king­dom’s rep­u­ta­tion.

Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man was ac­cused of or­der­ing the killing but the king­dom has strongly de­nied this. Last De­cem­ber, five govern­ment agents con­victed of Khashoggi’s mur­der at the king­dom’s Is­tan­bul con­sulate in Oc­to­ber 2018, were sen­tenced to death. Three other peo­ple al­legedly in­volved in the case were given prison sen­tences.

◗ AC­CORD­ING TO Saudi law, a par­don from a son of a mur­der vic­tim serves as a le­gal re­prieve. The fam­i­lies of the con­victs are now li­able to pay blood money to Khashoggi’s fam­ily

Dubai, May 22: The fam­ily of slain Wash­ing­ton Post columnist Ja­mal Khashoggi an­nounced on Fri­day they have for­given his Saudi killers, giv­ing le­gal re­prieve to five govern­ment agents who had been sen­tenced to death for an op­er­a­tion that cast a cloud of sus­pi­cion over the king­dom's crown prince.

“We, the sons of the mar­tyr Ja­mal Khashoggi, an­nounce that we for­give those who killed our father as we seek re­ward from God Almighty,” wrote one of his sons, Salah Khashoggi, on Twit­ter. Salah Khashoggi, who lives in Saudi Ara­bia and has re­ceived fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion from the royal court for his father’s killing, ex­plained that for­give­ness was ex­tended to the killers dur­ing the last nights of the Mus­lim holy month of Ra­madan in line with Is­lamic tra­di­tion to of­fer par­dons in cases al­lowed by Is­lamic law.

The Saudi court’s rul­ing in De­cem­ber that the killing was not pre­med­i­tated paved the way for Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment by leav­ing the door open for re­prieve. Ad­di­tion­ally, the find­ing was in line with the govern­ment's of­fi­cial ex­pla­na­tion of Khashoggi’s slay­ing that he was killed ac­ci­den­tally in a brawl by agents try­ing to forcibly re­turn him to Saudi Ara­bia.

The fam­ily’s de­ci­sion to par­don Khashoggi’s killers comes as ques­tions con­tinue to linger over who ul­ti­mately or­dered the op­er­a­tion and whether his sons have come un­der pres­sure.

The trial was widely crit­i­cized by rights groups and an in­de­pen­dent UN in­ves­ti­ga­tor who noted that no se­nior of­fi­cials nor any­one in charge of or­der­ing the op­er­a­tion was found guilty.

The in­de­pen­dence of the Riyadh crim­i­nal court was also brought into ques­tion. Prior to his killing, Khashoggi had writ­ten crit­i­cally of Saudi Ara­bia’s crown prince in col­umns for the Wash­ing­ton Post. He’d been liv­ing in ex­ile in the United States for about a year as Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man over­saw a crack­down in Saudi Ara­bia on hu­man rights ac­tivists, writ­ers and crit­ics of the king­dom’s dev­as­tat­ing war in Ye­men.

■ WE, THE SONS of the mar­tyr Ja­mal Khashoggi, an­nounce that we for­give those who killed our father as we seek re­ward from God Almighty, wrote one of his sons, Salah Khashoggi, on Twit­ter.

Ja­mal Khashoggi

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