|A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death Monday for the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose grisly slaying in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew international condemnation and cast a cloud of suspicion over Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Three other people were found guilty by Riyadh’s criminal court of covering up the crime and were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, according to a statement read by the Saudi attorney general’s office on state TV.
In all, 11 people were put on trial in Saudi Arabia over the killing. The names of those found guilty were not disclosed by the government. Executions in the kingdom are carried out by beheading, sometimes in public. All the verdicts can be appealed.
A small number of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family were allowed to attend the nine court sessions, though independent media were barred.
While the case in Saudi Arabia has largely concluded, questions linger outside Riyadh about the crown prince’s culpability in the slaying.
“The decision is too unlawful to be acceptable,” Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said in a text message to The Associated Press. “It is unacceptable.”
Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations, tweeted that the verdicts are a “mockery” and that the masterminds behind the crime “have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial.” Amnesty International called the outcome “a whitewash which brings neither justice nor truth.”
Khashoggi, who was a resident of the U.S., had walked into his country’s consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, for a appointment to pick up documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancee. He never walked out, and his body has not been found.
A team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate. They included a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers and individuals who worked for the crown prince’s office, according to Callamard’s independent investigation. Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw.