Saudi activists: Khashoggi homicide case ‘political, not private’


Many main Saudi activists have careworn that slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s homicide stays a political concern, regardless of alleged efforts by authorities within the kingdom to scale back it to a familial one.

Khashoggi, a well known journalist within the Arab world who additionally wrote opinion items for The Washington Post, was killed in October 2018 after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to acquire paperwork to marry his Turkish fiance. His physique was dismembered and by no means recovered.


The remarks by the Saudi activists got here after Khashoggi’s son Salah posted a quick assertion on Twitter earlier on Friday, saying his household has pardoned these liable for his father’s homicide.

“In this blessed night of the blessed month [of Ramadan], we remember God’s saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah,” he posted.

“Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty.”

However, Khashoggi’s Turkish fiance, Hatice Cengiz, renounced the assertion, saying “no one has the right to pardon the killers” and that she is not going to cease till justice is finished.

It was a sentiment additionally shared by many Saudi activists, who mentioned they view Khashoggi’s killing as a political slightly than a private concern.

“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is not a family case, it is not a mistake in a normal context,” mentioned Yahya Assiri, the top of the United Kingdom-based Saudi rights group, ALQST.

“The authorities killed him because of his political work,” Assiri mentioned. “His case is political, so keep silent.”

Assiri shared a assertion signed by ultimately two dozen Saudi activists and dissidents in December final 12 months, rejecting the Saudi authorized proceedings within the Khashoggi homicide case.

“We categorically reject the Saudi trial in the Khashoggi case and its resulting judgments,” mentioned the assertion. 

“The trial is unfair, the Saudi judiciary is corrupt and not independent, and the main suspect in the case is the Saudi Crown Prince, who controls the conduct of the trials.”

The signatories within the assertion mentioned they condemned Saudi authorities utilizing the late journalist’s relations to “whitewash the country’s judiciary, … dwarfing Khashoggi’s case”.

It mentioned Khashoggi’s household or a few of its members didn’t have their full freedom to say what they needed.

“[The] fact is that the issue does not concern Jamal Khashoggi’s family only, but rather is an issue of public opinion as Khashoggi was a political writer who criticised the political system and was killed for that.”

Omaima al-Najjar, a Saudi activist, mentioned it was crucial to proceed pushing for Khashoggi’s case as one framed inside freedom of speech. It would stay within the public eye for a number of causes, she mentioned.

“What we intend to do is continue to flag the case as a fight for freedom of speech and call for an independent transparent trial carried by international laws and not by Sharia laws that enable a murder case to escape penalty through a pardon or blood money,” al-Najjar instructed Al Jazeera.

“There was never closure of the case since the body was never found,” she mentioned. “The Turkish authorities are also still keeping records of the audio of the killing – which is described by the UN as chilling and graphic – that they could leak at any time.”

Al-Najjar accused the Saudi authorities of looking for methods to spare the lives of those that dedicated the crime.

“There have been ongoing trials of the case where international observers are allowed to attend but without translators. The trial has been a complete joke and I would describe it as a theatre.”

New particulars revealed on Khashoggi’s homicide

‘Martyr for a trigger’

Some activists additionally shared on social media a Saudi Supreme Court doc from six years in the past that mentioned there might be no pardoning of perpetrators in murder circumstances.

Under the Islamic regulation adopted by Saudi Arabia, demise sentences may very well be commuted if the sufferer’s household pardons the perpetrator.

But activists argue this is applicable to circumstances of household disputes or private grievances, and never in a political case like Khashoggi’s.

“The public prosecution’s framing of the punishment [of Khashoggi’s killers] as ‘retribution’ from the outset made it clear there was an intention to exonerate his murderers by way of a pardon from the family,” mentioned Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi tutorial at Georgetown University.

“Unfortunately, what happened was expected.”

Karen Attiah, editor at The Washington Post for which Khashoggi wrote columns, mentioned his sons had “surrendered and allowed the murderers of their father to go free”.

But Abdulaziz Almoayyad, a Saudi activist based mostly in Dublin, instructed Al Jazeera he disagreed with any backlash directed in the direction of the Khashoggi household.

“It is immoral for the media to focus such attention on Khashoggi’s family, especially since it is clear they are being pressured by the fascist Saudi regime,” he mentioned.

“They are in the lap of autocracy, and we have no right to criticise or judge what they say,” he added, calling Khashoggi a “martyr for a cause”.

‘Parody of justice’

On Friday, Agnes Callamard, the UN rapporteur for extrajudicial executions, mentioned the “shocking” choice by Khashoggi’s sons to “forgive” their father’s killers was simply one other step in Saudi Arabia’s “parody of justice”.

Callamard mentioned the move was “the final act in [Saudi Arabia’s] well-rehearsed parody of justice in front of an international community far too ready to be deceived”.

“Act One was their pretence of an investigation,” she mentioned, including that the workforce Riyadh despatched to assist with the probe had in actual fact been ordered to “clean up the crime scene”, accusing it of “obstruction of justice”.

Nearly a month after Khashoggi’s killing, a report by the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had issued orders to kill the Saudi dissident.

In September 2019, the Saudi crown prince indicated that he assumed some private duty for the crime since “it took place during his reign”.

Last December, the Saudi judiciary issued preliminary rulings within the case, based on which three distinguished officers – Saud al-Qahtani, former adviser to MBS;  Mohammed al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul in Istanbul; and Ahmed al-Asiri, the previous deputy director of intelligence – have been acquitted of the crime.

Around the identical time, 5 folks have been sentenced to demise and three others imprisoned for 24 years for the killing, with the prosecution not revealing the names of the convicts.

The rulings have been criticised by the worldwide our bodies as a “sham”, pointing that their goal was for the dominion to keep away from holding the true perpetrators to account.

In the US, chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, mentioned the rulings have been a continuation of the dominion’s efforts to distance Saudi leaders – together with the crown prince – from the brutal assassination, including that the crime was deliberate and never the results of a sudden choice or irregular course of.