The United States on Monday welcomed death sentences issued by Saudi Arabia against five people over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “Today’s verdicts were an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable,” a State Department official told reporters after the ruling. The court however exonerated two top aides to Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the United States Senate considers responsible for Khashoggi’s murder in October last year at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.
The United States “encouraged Saudi Arabia to undertake a fair and transparent judicial process,” the official added.
Interestingly, top aide to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has not been charged in case.
Khashoggi, a US-based writer who annoyed the prince through critical columns in The Washington Post, was strangled to death on October 2, 2018 and dismembered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to handle wedding paperwork, according to US and Turkish officials. Khashoggi visited the consulate to secure the divorce papers needed to marry his fiancee but did not make it out alive.
Secret tapes have revealed Saudi operatives suspected of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the country’s Istanbul consulate cracking joking before his arrival. Helena Kennedy, a British lawyer assisting the UN probe into Khashoggi’s death, said recordings she had heard from inside the kingdom’s mission in Turkey referred to the Saudi critic as a “sacrificial animal.”
“There was a discussion about ‘will the body and the hips fit into a bag this way’?”, she told BBC television’s Panorama documentary programme broadcast on Monday night.
Kennedy said Turkish bugs in the Saudi consulate picked up a forensic pathologist suspected of cutting up Khashoggi’s body as saying, “I often play music when I’m cutting cadavers. Sometimes I have a coffee and a cigar at hand.”
The pathologist also says, “’It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had to cut pieces on the ground—even if you are a butcher and want to cut, he hangs the animal up to do so’,” she added.
“They speak about waiting for Khashoggi to arrive and they say, ‘Has the sacrificial animal arrived?’. You could hear them laughing, it’s a chilling business.”