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Saudi scraps death sentences over Khashoggi murder, jails 8

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 15, 2014, general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. – US President Donald Trump said October 11, 2018 he was not yet prepared to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, but he faced mounting pressure from concerned American lawmakers. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest arms purchasers, with most of them coming from the United States.Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, vanished more than a week ago during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish government sources say he was murdered there, a claim Riyadh denies. (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH / AFP)


A Saudi court Monday overturned five death sentences over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in a final ruling that jailed eight defendants to between seven and 20 years, state media reported.

“Five of the convicts were given 20 years in prison and another three were jailed for 7-10 years,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a spokesman for the public prosecutor.

None of the defendants were named in what was described as the final court ruling on the killing which had sparked an international outcry.

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The verdict came after Khashoggi’s sons said in May they had “pardoned” the killers, a move condemned as a “parody of justice” by a UN expert.

The family’s pardon spared the lives of five unnamed people sentenced to death over the 2018 murder in a December court ruling, which was lambasted by human rights groups after two top aides to the crown prince were exonerated.

Khashoggi — a royal family insider turned critic — was killed and dismembered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, in a case that tarnished the reputation of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Khashoggi, a 59-year-old critic of the crown prince, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate, according to Turkish officials. His remains have not been found.

Riyadh has described the murder as a “rogue” operation, but both the CIA and a United Nations special envoy have directly linked Prince Mohammed to the killing, a charge the kingdom vehemently denies.

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