Jamal Khashoggi's sons forgive Saudi killers, sparing 5 execution

We've forgiven our fathers killers- Slain journalist Khashoggi’s sons

"On this holy night of this blessed month [of Ramadan]... we the sons of martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce we forgive and pardon those who killed our father", the Washington Post columnist's son Salah Khashoggi said on Twitter.

Saudi prosecutors said in December that five unidentified people had been sentenced to death in connection with the murder after a trial in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

'What this essentially means is that the killers will avoid capital punishment since that is a right the family has to forgive, ' said Ali Shihabi, a Saudi author and analyst.

Saudi authorities did not immediately comment on the legal ramifications of the announcement from Salah, who resides in the kingdom and has denied reports of a financial settlement with the government.

The verdicts were criticized by human rights groups because of the trial's secrecy.

"Other legal procedures by the state continue".

What has Khashoggi's family said?

Salah Khashoggi had welcomed the judgment, and expressed his faith in the Saudi judicial system denouncing those who politicizes his father's case. Three other people were sentenced to jail terms totaling 24 years.

However, no charges were brought against crown prince Mohammed bin Salman or his former right-hand man Saud al-Qahtani. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and some European governments maintain that bin Salman had ordered the killing.

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The murder caused a global uproar, tarnishing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's image.

Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur who investigated his killing, said the announcement of forgiveness was anticipated.

Agnès Callamard, the special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings who has said the 2018 murder was committed at the behest of the Saudi state, said on Friday that the message of forgiveness represented the "first steps towards their eventual release" under Saudi and sharia law. The killers, sentenced to death, are still likely to face lengthy prison sentences.

Investigators believe that he was murdered and dismembered while she waited outside, but his remains have never been recovered.

Riyadh insists it was a rogue operation, having initially denied that Khashoggi died at all and then claimed that he died accidentally during a brawl. USA intelligence agencies, however, say an operation like this could not have happened without his knowledge and the Senate has blamed the crown prince for the murder.

Two of the alleged hit squad had used diplomatic passports, and that the encounter at the consulate was "only possible because of the pretense of government service", she said.

Khashoggi, who was a critic of the Saudi government, had been writing for the Washington Post newspaper and living in the U.S. before his death.

The journalist was last seen at the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city on October 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding.

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