Khashoggi family forgive killers, clearing way to legal reprieve

RIYADH – The family of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Friday that they have forgiven the men who murdered their father, paving the way for a legal suspension of payment for five sentenced death row suspects for the October 2018 murder.

“If a person forgives and makes atonement, his reward is due to Allah,” tweeted Khashoggi’s son Salah. “That is why we, the sons of the martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce that we forgive those who murdered our father.”

In Saudi Arabia, which lacks a codified legal system and follows Islamic law, forgiveness of a victim’s family in the event of murder can allow for formal pardon.

The Saudi court that issued the five death sentences in December said the murder was not premeditated, a statement that supported claims made by Saudi officials, but contradicted the findings of a UN-led investigation into the Khashoggi murder .

However, Khashoggi’s fiancé Hatice Cengiz said on Friday that no one could pardon his murderers. “No one has the right to pardon the killers. We will not pardon the murderers or those who ordered the murder, “she said in a tweet.

Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, where he went to fetch documents for his upcoming marriage. His body was said to have been torn apart and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.

The murder caused worldwide commotion and affected the image of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they thought he ordered the murder.

Saudi officials denied that he played a role, although the Prince declared some personal responsibility in September 2019 and said “it happened under my supervision.”

A total of eleven suspects were tried in secret procedures in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Three of them were imprisoned, and three others were dismissed.

The trial has been condemned by the United Nations and rights organizations. Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summaries or arbitrary executions, accused Saudi Arabia of making a “mockery” of justice by releasing the masterminds of the 2018 murder.

At the time of the December sentence, Khashoggi’s son Salah said, “It has been fair to us and justice has been achieved.”

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