Sons of slain Saudi journalist Khashoggi say 'forgive' killers

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shook hands with Salah Khashoggi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shook hands with Salah Khashoggi

The family of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Friday (May 22) that they have forgiven those who murdered their father, his son Salah wrote in a tweet.

Under Saudi law, which is heavily influenced by Islamic legal traditions, the families of murder victims have the option to grant clemency to perpetrators, often in exchange for a monetary payment known as "diyah".

Saudi Arabia announced at the end of a year ago that five people have been sentenced to death for taking part in Khashoggi's murder.

The statement, published today on Twitter by Khashoggi's son Salah, said: "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'".

Khashoggi - a royal family insider turned critic - was killed and dismembered at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, in a case that tarnished the reputation of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Professor Ihsan Yilmaz, chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue at Deakin University, said the statement read like a fatwa, or legal pronouncement.

Earlier, Salah Khashoggi said he had "full confidence" in the judicial system, and that the accused were trying to exploit the case.

Both aides were part of Prince Mohammed's tight-knit inner circle and were formally sacked over the killing, but only Assiri appeared in the court hearings, according to Western sources.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference before his murder.

"I think many in Saudi Arabia will be convinced by this use of religion for political purposes, especially in the holy month of Ramadan".

The Committee to Protect Journalists and other press freedom activists hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington to mark the anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, 2019. His remains were never found.

Some Western governments, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, said they believed he had ordered the killing.

Saudi officials say he had no role, though in September 2019 Crown Prince Mohammed indicated some personal accountability, saying "it happened under my watch".

Five people were sentenced to death for his murder and three others received jail terms for participating in the crime.

A United Nations special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, labelled the Saudi trial the "antithesis of justice" and urged an independent investigation.

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