Sons of murdered Saudi journalist Khashoggi say 'forgive' killers


The family of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi announced Friday they have forgiven his Saudi killers, giving legal reprieve to the five government agents convicted of his murder who'd been sentenced to execution.

"If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah", Khashoggi's son Salah tweeted.

"Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward from the God almighty".

The son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has released a statement forgiving his killers.

The family of the journalist - who was an outspoken critic of Saudi royals before his grisly murder at Riyadh's embassy in Istanbul in October 2018 - signaled in December that they would not oppose the verdicts handed out to those implicated in the case.

Saudi prosecutors said in December that five unidentified people had been sentenced to death in connection with the murder after a trial in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

However, Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz said on Friday that no one could pardon his killers.

"There were reports that the family was paid blood money by the Saudi Government - which were denied by Mr Khashoggi's son Salah", he said.

An outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy, particularly of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), the elder Khashoggi fled to the U.S. in a self-imposed exile fearing for his life.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sits next to a Saudi flag wearing a keffiyeh
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's image was tarnished by Jamal Khashoggi's death

After offering changing accounts of his disappearance, Saudi authorities eventually submitted he was killed in a botched operation by a team tasked with getting him to return to the country.

Turkish officials say Khashoggi, 59, was strangled and his body was cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi group inside the kingdom's mission.

Saudi prosecutors had said deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri oversaw Khashoggi's killing and the US Treasury had claimed the royal court's media czar Saud al-Qahtani was "part of the planning and execution" of the operation that led to the murder.

However, it's not clear if the statement will hold any legal standing in the treatment of those in Saudi Arabia sentenced to death over the killing.

Another three were given jail terms totalling 24 years, while a further three were acquitted, prosecutors said.

The watchdog Reporters Without Borders voiced fears that the five men's death sentences were "a way to silence them forever and to hide the truth". His remains were never found.

Khashoggi had been writing for the Washington Post newspaper and living in the U.S. before his death.

The December verdict, condemned by human rights groups as a travesty of justice, underscored Saudi efforts to draw a line under the crisis as it seeks to reboot its worldwide image ahead of this year's G20 summit in Riyadh.

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