Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced five people to death and three more to jail terms totaling 24 years over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.
Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor and spokesman Shalaan al-Shalaan, reading out the trial verdict, said the court dismissed charges against the remaining three of the 11 people that had been on trial, finding them not guilty. None of the defendants’ names was immediately released.
“The investigation showed that the killing was not premeditated ... The decision was taken at the spur of the moment,” Shalaan said, a position contradicting the findings of a United Nations-led investigation.
Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler. He was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.
Khashoggi’s murder caused a global uproar, tarnishing the crown prince’s image. The CIA and some Western governments have said they believe Prince Mohammed ordered the killing, but Saudi officials say he had no role. Eleven Saudi suspects were put on trial over his death in secretive proceedings in Riyadh.