Family of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi issues statement forgiving his killers

Khashoggi family forgives their father's killers

The family of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Friday that they have forgiven those who were convicted of murdering their father in Istanbul two years ago.

The statement, published today on Twitter by Khashoggi's son Salah, said: "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'".

The Washington Post reported a year ago that Khashoggi's children, including Salah, who resides in the kingdom, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by Saudi authorities.

Before he was murdered, Mr Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate to obtain documents for his impending wedding.

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 trial, held in secret, was broadly condemned as a sham by worldwide rights activists, who said the masterminds of the murder had not been held accountable. The independence of the Riyadh criminal court was also brought into question.

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".

UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard concluded in an earlier report that Khashoggi's murder was a "deliberate, premeditated execution" and encouraged an investigation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Mr Kashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, an outspoken advocate for justice for Khashoggi, condemned the statement.

"Nobody has the right to pardon the killers. We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing", she said in a tweet.

United Nations investigator Agnes Callamard, who wrote a report setting out "credible evidence" of the prince's involvement, said the verdicts were a "mockery of justice".

The journalist - who had gone into self-imposed exile in the U.S. in 2017 - went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 seeking documents to get married to fiancé Hatice Cengiz.

After initially offering shifting accounts of what transpired, and under intense global and Turkish pressure, Saudi prosecutors 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 at the time. Neither was found guilty in trial, however.

In December last year, the kingdom sentenced five people to death and three to jail terms totaling 24 years over the murder.

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



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