Family of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi 'forgives' killers

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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 who'd been sentenced to death for an operation that cast a cloud of suspicion over the kingdom's crown prince.

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'".

"Thus, we, sons of the martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce that we forgive those who killed our father - may he rest in peace - for the sake of God Almighty, hopefully seeking reward with the Almighty", he added.

Khashoggi, a veteran journalist who contributed columns to The Washington Post, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 when he went to collect documents that would allow him to remarry.

Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.

In December 2019, a court sentenced five unnamed men to death for their role in his killing after a secretive trial in Riyadh.

However, Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz said on Friday that no one could pardon his killers.

The legal outcome of this announcement is not yet clear.

Turkish and Western intelligence agencies said the order to kill him could only have come from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

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

Shalaan Al-Shalaan, the Saudi deputy public prosecutor and spokesman said that the trials, which took place in Riyadh, showed that the killing was not premeditated.

He has also previously criticised "opponents and enemies" of Saudi Arabia who he said had tried to exploit his father's death to undermine the country's leadership.

His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found. Three of the 11 accused were sentenced to prison terms totalling 24 years and three others were found not guilty.

"In practice, Khashoggi's killers will not be subject to the death penalty".

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

The Washington Post reported previous year that Khashoggi's children, including Salah, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by authorities.

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

After initially offering shifting accounts of what transpired, and under intense worldwide 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.

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