The sons of murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi yesterday said that they “forgive” the killers of their father, an announcement that analysts said effectively grants clemency to five convicted people on death row.
Khashoggi — a royal family insider turned critic — was killed and dismembered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, in a case that tarnished the reputation of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
The Khashoggi family’s pardon could spare the lives of five unnamed people sentenced to death for the murder in a December court ruling that exonerated two top aides to the crown prince.
“On this holy night of this blessed month [of Ramadan] ... we the sons of martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we forgive and pardon those who killed our father,” the Washington Post columnist’s son Salah Khashoggi said on Twitter.
Saudi Arabian authorities did not immediately comment on the legal ramifications of the announcement from Salah, who resides in the kingdom and has denied reports of a financial settlement with the government.
Analyst Nabeel Nowairah said the family’s declaration effectively means that the “murderers will not be executed.”
Salah has said that he has “full confidence” in the judicial system, and has criticized opponents that he said were seeking to exploit the case.
The Washington Post reported last year that Khashoggi’s children, including Salah, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by authorities, but Salah has rejected the report.
Of the 11 individuals indicted in the case — most of whom remain unnamed — five were sentenced to death, three face jail terms totaling 24 years and the others were acquitted, the public prosecutor has said.
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