DUBAI: A Saudi court issued final verdicts on Monday in the case of slain Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi after his family announced pardons that spared five of the convicted individuals from execution.
Saudi Arabia’s state television aired few details about the final verdicts issued by the Riyadh Criminal Court against the eight Saudi nationals. Their names were not made public.
The court ordered a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for five. Another received a 10-year sentence, and two others were ordered to serve seven years in prison.
The trial was widely criticized by rights groups and an independent U.N. investigator, who noted that no senior officials nor anyone suspected of ordering the killing was found guilty. The independence of the court was also brought into question.
Prior to his killing, Khashoggi had written critically of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in columns for the Washington Post. He’d been living in exile in the United States for about a year as Prince Mohammed oversaw a crackdown in Saudi Arabia on human rights activists, writers and critics of the kingdom’s devastating war in Yemen.
Khashoggi was killed in late 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Among those ensnared in the killing are a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers and individuals who worked for the crown prince’s office. The crown prince has denied any knowledge of the operation.