Saudi Arabia sentences eight in Khashoggi murder, closes case

Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution on Monday sentenced eight people to jail over their role n the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya reported.

Five people were sentenced to 20-years in prison and three other defendants were handed down a prison sentence of seven to ten years, it said, citing the prosecution, which has said the verdict is final and must be enforced.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.

The 59-year-old’s body,believed to have been dismembered, has not been found.

Salman is accused by several intelligence agencies of involvement in ordering Khashoggi’s death. The Saudi crown prince initially said the murder was carried out by a “rogue operation”, but CIA experts believe Salman gave the green light for the incident.

The verdict arrives after Khashoggi's sons in May said they had "pardoned" their father’s killers.

In March, Istanbul prosecutors indicted 20 Saudi officials – including the former deputy chief of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, Ahmed al-Asiri, and ex-royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani – for committing premeditated murder with “monstrous intent.” But the suspects are being tried in absentia by a Turkish courtbecause Riyadh has refused to extradite the men despite repeated requests by Turkey.