Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Jamal Khashoggi's sons offer forgiveness to their father's murderers

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The sons of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist liquidated in October 2018 at his country's consulate in Istanbul, have forgiven the murderers of their father. The decision was released on Friday May 22 by Salah Khashoggi, the eldest son of the former columnist Washington Post, who resides in Saudi Arabia. "We, the children of the martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce that we forgive those who killed our father because we aspire to be rewarded by Almighty God", wrote the thirties on Twitter.

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Consequently, the five death sentences pronounced in December against members of the Istanbul commando, after a trial conducted in conditions of almost total opacity, will not be applied. Saudi agents who surprised Jamal Khashoggi in representing the kingdom on the Bosphorus, where the latter came to complete formalities for the purpose of remarriage, then who smothered him and cut his body into pieces, could even be released, in the short or medium term.

Riyadh leaders have not reacted

Famous signature of the Saudi press, who went into exile in 2017 in the United States, the journalist chronicled for the American daily the authoritarian drift of Mohammed Ben Salman, known as "MBS", the crown prince and strong man of Saudi Arabia. His assassination, long denied by Riyadh and then presented as an unfortunate arrest, carried out by out of control elements, sparked worldwide outrage. This scandal has destabilized the kingdom on the international scene and severely tarnished the reputation of MBS, designated by the CIA as the probable organizer of the operation.

Riyadh leaders did not respond to the Khashoggi family’s announcement. But the government press presents their forgiveness as a simple charitable gesture, a good deed, in accordance with Islamic tradition, usual during the holy month of Ramadan. "It’s a sharia family right (Islamic law), it mainly means that the murderers will avoid capital punishment ”, Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst close to the government, estimated on Twitter.

Many observers, however, doubt the spontaneous nature of this decision. In April 2019, the New york times revealed that Saudi authorities had donated millions of dollars worth of property to the children of the deceased. According to the American daily, this gift, denied by the interested parties, was intended to buy their docility. The December verdicts, which dismissed the premeditation thesis – in reverse of all the elements brought up by the investigation by UN expert Agnès Callamard, such as the fact that the Istanbul commando was equipped with a bone saw – opened the possibility of forgiveness.

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