Saudi Arabia‘s public prosecutor has said five people had been sentenced to death over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October last year, but two top figures investigated over the killing have been acquitted.
The prosecutor, Shalaan al-Shalaan, said in a statement the court issued death sentences on five men who directly took part in the killing.
Saudi prosecutors had said deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri oversaw the Washington Post columnist’s killing in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and that he was advised by the royal court’s media czar Saud al-Qahtani.
However, al-Qahtani was investigated but not indicted “due to insufficient evidence” and al-Assiri was investigated and charged but eventually acquitted on the same grounds.
The court also ruled that the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at the time, Mohammed al-Otaibi, was not guilty.
“After holding nine sessions three were jailed to 24 years, the others were acquitted and can appeal the verdicts, ” reads the statement
Trials of the accused were carried out in near-total secrecy, though a handful of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family, were allowed to attend the sessions.