OIC backs Saudi judiciary in Khashoggi murder case


Death sentence to five, jail terms for three

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said on Thursday that the preliminary rulings issued by Saudi Arabia’s criminal court regarding the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi were issued in accordance with the Kingdom’s judicial procedures.
“They must be respected and should not interfere in the internal affairs of member states,” it added in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi prosecutor’s office on Monday said five people had been handed the death penalty “for committing and directly participating in the murder” of the Washington Post columnist last year at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
It added that three others had been given prison terms amounting to 24 years “for their role in covering up this crime and violating the law.”
OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said: “The Kingdom’s commitment to achieving justice was evident by engaging those that hold the legal right, and they are the victim’s children.”
He said the attendance of delegates from the permanent members of the judicial hearings, in addition to a delegate from Turkey, demonstrated transparency. “This confirms the integrity of the Saudi judiciary that examined the case, according to the available evidence and information, and not according to the political allegations that are not mentioned in the litigation,” he added.

Death sentence

Five people have been sentenced to death and three more were given jail terms by Riyadh’s criminal court over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
Khashoggi was killed when he visited the Saudi Consulate in October in Istanbul.
Reading out the verdict in the trial in Riyadh on Monday, Shalaan Al-Shalaan, the Saudi deputy public prosecutor and spokesman, said the court dismissed the charges against the remaining three of the 11 defendants who had been on trial, finding them not guilty.

Representatives from the Khashoggi family and the Turkish embassy were present during the announcement of the decision. The three defendants given prison terms totalling 24 years were found guilty “for their role in covering up this crime and violating the law.”
No names were released for those who were convicted, as they could still appeal the ruling. Al-Shalaan said the investigations proved there was no “prior enmity” between those convicted and Khashoggi.

The Riyadh criminal court exonerated the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at that time, Mohammed Al-Otaibi, and two other individuals.
UK’s reaction
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, meanwhile, posted on Twitter: “The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible crime. Mr Khashoggi’s family deserve to see justice done for his brutal murder. Saudi Arabia must ensure all of those responsible are held to account and that such an atrocity can never happen again.”

“It was agreed, in consultation between the head of the negotiating team and the culprits, to kill Jamal Khashoggi inside the consulate,” Al-Shalaan said in response to questions from journalists.