Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi but cleared a former top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a public prosecutor said Monday. There was no evidence against Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shaalan al-Shaalan announced in a televised press conference Monday. A court also dismissed charges against Ahmed al-Assiri, a former deputy intelligence chief, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, Saudi’s consul general in Istanbul when the murder took place, he said. Al-Qahtani and al-Otaibi were sanctioned a year ago by the US Treasury for their alleged involvement in the murder. Both al-Qahtani and al-Assiri were part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s inner circle and were relieved of their duties in the immediate aftermath of Khashoggi’s killing in October 2018.”Saud al-Qahtani was questioned by the public prosecution and was not charged because there was no evidence against him,” al-Shaalan said. Reading preliminary rulings for 11 people who have been investigated by Saudi Arabia, al-Shaalan said five others who took part in the murder had been sentenced to death. Another three people face a total of 24 years in prison for covering up the murder and violating regulations. He did not reveal any of their names.
Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor and spokesman Shalaan al-Shalaan gives a statement in Riyadh on Monday. Khashoggi — a Washington Post columnist and royal insider-turned-critic — was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. He had expected to collect documents for his upcoming wedding but was instead killed and allegedly dismembered in the building. His remains are yet to be found.