A court in Saudi Arabia has commuted the death sentences handed to five people convicted over the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government who was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul by a team of Saudi agents. The following year Saudi prosecutors put 11 unnamed individuals on trial. Now, after changing sentence, prosecutors said they were given 20-year jail terms after the journalist’s family decided to pardon them. The court on Monday said the verdicts were final and that the criminal trial was now closed. His fiancée said the ruling made “a complete mockery of justice”. “The Saudi prosecutor performed one more act today in this parody of justice. But these verdicts carry no legal or moral legitimacy. They came at the end of a process which was neither fair, nor just, or transparent,” she tweeted.
The Saudi public prosecution concluded that the murder was not premeditated. This May, Khashoggi’s son Salah announced that he and his brothers were “pardoning those who killed our father, seeking reward from God almighty.” Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen on Oct. 2, 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. Turkish officials allege he was killed and then his body was dismembered and removed from the building. His remains have not been found.