Jamal Khashoggi: brutally killed and dismembered in Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018

Amnesty International has thumbed down Saudi Arabian government’s death sentences on five men blamed for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October last year in Istanbul, Turkey.

The London based human rights group dismissed the verdict a “whitewash” of justice, because it exculpated the top officials tied to Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Amnesty derided the Saudi Arabian Public Prosecutor’s Monday announcement they would be executing five individuals for “directly participating” in the October 2018 murder of Khashoggi.

Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shaalan al-Shaalan sentenced three additional men to prison time but ultimately cleared the three top advisers under bin Salman.

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“[The verdict] fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains.”

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“This verdict is a whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones. The trial has been closed to the public and to independent monitors, with no information available as to how the investigation was carried out … Saudi Arabia’s courts routinely deny defendants access to lawyers and condemn people to death following grossly unfair trials.”

Three of bin Salman’s top advisers, media consultant Saud al-Qahtani, former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and Saudi consul general in Istanbul at the time of the murder, Mohammed al-Otaibi, were cleared of all charges tied to the crime. Deputy Prosecutor al-Shaalan said there was “no evidence” to pursue charges against al-Qahtani and the others with close ties to bin Salman.

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The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a United Nations report previously concluded that bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi’s killing. U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard described the Saudi ruling on Twitter: “Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial.”

The Saudis have maintained the murder was a result of a “rogue operation,” but the U.N. said bin Salman and top Saudi government officials directly ordered the “extrajudicial execution” of Khashoggi last year.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018. His remains have yet to be located, and U.S. as well as other international agencies have alleged Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the embassy.–Newsweek