The sons of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have publicly said they “forgive” those who killed their father, statement analysts claimed will grants clemency to the five people who were convicted for the murder.
Jamal Khashoggi was a royal family insider who later became a critic. He was killed and dismembered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, in a murder case that tarnished the reputation of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The “forgiveness” statement by his sons could spare the lives of five unnamed people who had been sentenced to death over the murder in a December court judgement that exonerated two top aides to the crown prince.
Salah Khashoggi, son of the Washington Post columnist said on Twitter, “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.”
Saudi authorities did not immediately react on the legal aspect of the announcement from Salah, who currently resides in the kingdom and has debunked reports of a financial settlement with the government.
“What this essentially means is that the killers will avoid capital punishment since that is a right the family (under sharia law) has to forgive. Other legal procedures by the state continue,” Ali Shihabi, a Saudi author and analyst close to the government Twitted.
Analyst Nabeel Nowairah also said the family’s declaration effectively means the “murderers will not be executed”.
Salah has previously said he had “full confidence” in the judicial system, and criticised opponents he said were seeking to exploit the case.
The Washington Post reported last year that Khashoggi’s children, including Salah, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by authorities.
Salah rejected the report, denying discussing a financial settlement with the Saudi government.
Out of 11 individuals indicted in the case — most of whom remain unnamed — five were sentenced to death, three face jail terms totalling 24 years and the others were acquitted, according to the public prosecutor.