Saudi Arabia sentenced eight people charged in the killing of dissident journalist Khashoggi Jammal halting the death sentence for five of the men.
A court handed 20-year sentences to five people charged in the murder case, and three others were sentenced to between seven to 10 years, state media reported on Monday. The eight convicted were not identified.
“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 the public prosecution service.
The final court verdict comes after Khashoggi’s sons said in May they had “pardoned” the killers – meaning they would not receive death sentences – and the verdicts confirmed the five previously condemned men would not be executed.
Khashoggi went missing on October 2, 2018, while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities later revealed he was murdered inside the consulate by a Saudi hit squad.
Khashoggi’s body, believed to have been dismembered, has not been found.
Khalil Jahshan, from the Arab Center in Washington, DC, noted the prosecutor’s office said the announcement was final and “closes the case forever”.
“Most importantly, where is the body of Jamal Khashoggi? With these sentences, I assume they have found out what happened to his body,” Jahshan, a family friend, told Al Jazeera.
“The whole verdict seems to me to have been manipulated. According to legal practice in Saudi Arabia, the family has a right to commute any sentence, and the family has issued such a declaration – most probably under duress. I don’t think it was done freely, knowing the family.”