The sentencing of five people to death for the killing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been described by his Turkish fiancée’ as unfair and invalid, adding that their execution would conceal the truth.
Khashoggi never came back from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 02, 2018. He went to obtain some documents for his planned wedding to fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. Cengiz was waiting outside the consulate.
An investigation later revealed that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. His body was dismembered and removed from the building. His remains have not been found.
The murder of Khashoggi, a US resident and critic of the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, caused a global outcry, and some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed the prince ordered the killing.
Saudi officials say he had no role, though in September the crown prince indicated some personal accountability, saying “it happened under my watch”.
A Saudi court on Monday sentenced five people to death and three to jail over the murder, while dismissing the charges against three others. A UN investigator accused Riyadh of making a “mockery” of justice by exonerating senior figures who may have ordered the killing.
The presiding Saudi court rejected the findings of a UN inquiry by ruling that the killing was not premeditated, rather carried out “at the spur of the moment”.
In a statement on Tuesday, December 24, Cengiz said the trial did not reveal why those convicted had killed Khashoggi because the trial was held behind closed doors.
“If these people are executed without any chance to speak or explain themselves, we might never know the truth behind this murder,” she said.
“I’m calling upon every authority in the world to condemn this kind of court decision and urgently prevent any execution, because this would just be another step in concealing the truth.”
Turkey said the trial outcome fell far short of serving justice. Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun slammed the verdict as an “insult to the intelligence of any fair observer”.
“The international media must pursue the case of Khashoggi until there is true accountability … Those responsible must face justice sooner or later,” Altun said on Twitter, calling the case a “sham trial”.
“This despicable murder was done at a diplomatic facility against every diplomatic norm imaginable! We will follow this case to the end regardless (of) how high it goes.”
After Monday’s verdict, a source familiar with US intelligence assessments said key US government agencies rejected the validity of the court proceedings and CIA experts still believed Prince Mohammad personally ordered, or at least approved of, the killing.
The source said the five men condemned to death were essentially foot soldiers in the killing, while two senior security officials acquitted played a more significant role. (Source: CNA)