A court in Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced five people to death for the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year by a team of Saudi agents.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV channel reported that three others were sentenced to prison. All can appeal the verdicts.
The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had drawn international condemnation for the killing because several Saudi agents involved worked directly for him. The kingdom denies that Prince Mohammed had any involvement or knowledge of the operation.
The New York Times reports:
Adam Coogle, who researches Saudi Arabia for Human Rights Watch, said that the opaque nature of the trial, and the kingdom’s overall handling of the case, could only be resolved through an independent investigation.
“Saudi Arabia’s absolution of its senior leadership of any culpability in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi raises serious concerns over the fairness of the criminal proceedings,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia’s handling of the murder, from complete denial to hanging the murder on lower-level operatives in a trial that lacked transparency, demonstrates the need for an independent criminal inquiry.”