The family of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday said that they forgave his killers. Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had written columns critical of Saudi Arabia, was brutally killed in October 2018, allegedly at the behest of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
“In this blessed night of the blessed month [of Ramadan] we remember God’s saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah,” Jamal Khashoggi’s son Salah Khashoggi said in a tweet. “Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward [from] God almighty.”
The legal outcome of this announcement is not yet clear. Earlier, Salah Khashoggi said he had “full confidence” in the judicial system, and that the accused were trying to exploit the case.
However, Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz said “no one” had the right to pardon his murderers. “Jamal Khashoggi has become an international symbol bigger than any of us, admired and loved,” she tweeted. “His ambush and heinous murder does not have a statute of limitations and no one has the right to pardon his killers. I and others will not stop until we get #JusticeForJamal.”
Cengiz also claimed Khashoggi’s murderders came from Saudi Arabia with “premeditation to lure, ambush and kill him”. “Nobody has the right to pardon the killers,” she said. “We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing.”
Jamal Khashoggi’s body was said to have been dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and disposed of elsewhere, but his remains were never found.
United States intelligence agencies had found credible evidence that Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing. However, in what was seen as a sham trial, Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death for the murder. Three of the 11 accused were sentenced to prison terms totalling 24 years and three others were found not guilty. They were not named.
Jamal Khashoggi’s murder had caused an international uproar and led to immense criticism against the prince. The United Nations had condemned the trials and Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, called the verdict a travesty. Callamard had published a 100-page report on the journalist’s murder, saying it was a “deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law”.