Khashoggi's sons forgive Saudi killers, sparing 5 execution

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the country's consulate in Istanbul

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the country's consulate in Istanbul

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.

"In this blessed night of the blessed month [of Ramadan] we remember God's saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah", Jamal Khashoggi's son Salah Khashoggi said in a tweet.

"We, the sons of martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce we have forgiven whoever killed our father for the sake of God".

Mr Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding.

"We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels", Salah Khashoggi said at the time, describing the trial as a "fair" one.

Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw.

Khashoggi, a 59-year-old critic of the crown prince, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate, according to Turkish officials.

His family's pardon is expected to spare the lives of five unnamed people sentenced to death over the murder in a December court ruling, which was lambasted by human rights groups after two top aides to the crown prince were exonerated. His remains have never been found.

"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, an analyst close to the Saudi government said on Twitter.

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

Salah rejected the report, denying discussing a financial settlement with Saudi Arabia's authoritarian rulers.

Last year, the Washington Post reported that Khashoggi's children had received homes and monthly payments as compensation for the killing of their father.

After offering shifting accounts of what transpired, and under intense worldwide and Turkish pressure, the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that Khashoggi had been killed by Saudi agents in an operation masterminded by two of the crown prince's top aides, who have since been removed from their posts.

A United Nations special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, labelled the Saudi trial the "antithesis of justice" and urged an independent investigation.

The prince has denied any involvement in the murder, but has said he took "full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government".

Eleven people were charged in the case, including three who were acquitted.

I and others will not stop until we get justice for Jamal, ' she said.

The kingdom denies the crown prince had any knowledge of the operation.

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