Khashoggi family ‘forgives’ his killers

Khashoggi family ‘forgives’ his killers

A son of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered inside Riyadh's consulate in Turkey in 2018, on Friday said he and his brothers have forgiven his father's killers.

He added: "On this virtuous night of this holy month, we recall the words of God Almighty in his holy book: 'The repayment of bad actions, is one equivalent to it, But whoever pardons and makes reconciliation, his reward lies with God".

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the country's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.

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. He was confronted by Saudi agents before being kidnapped, tortured, murdered and dismembered.

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 independence of the Riyadh criminal court was also brought into question.

Saudi officials say he had no role, although in September 2019 MBS indicated some personal accountability, saying the grisly killing "happened under my watch".

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said that Khashoggi's death was a "rogue operation" and denied that powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely viewed as the kingdom's de facto ruler, was involved. The group included a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers and individuals who worked for the crown prince's office.

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The announcement drew anger from Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who said "no one" had the right to pardon his murderers.

"Nobody has the right to pardon the killers. We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing", she wrote on Twitter in response to the family's pardon.

Khashoggi had been at the consulate to collect paperwork relating to his planned marriage to Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.

The grisly killing, which took place as Khashoggi's fiancee waited for him outside the consulate, drew worldwide condemnation of Prince Mohammed.

That finding was in line with the Saudi government's official explanation of Khashoggi's slaying, which has been called into question internationally. Neither was found guilty in trial, however.

The court which issued the five death sentences in December said the killing was not premeditated, a ruling which backed assertions by Saudi officials but which contradicted the findings of a United Nations -led inquiry into Khashoggi's killing.

"What this essentially means is that the killers will avoid capital punishment since that is a right the family [under sharia law] has to forgive", Ali Shihabi, a Saudi author and analyst close to the government said on Twitter.

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