UN Critical After Saudis Sentence Five to Death in Khashoggi Murder

'Mockery of justice' as court exonerates top aide to crown prince

The trial of 11 people accused of being in the Saudi “kill team” that murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi ended with an announcement Monday. Eight were convicted, and five were sentenced to death.

Far from the culpability much of the world sought, however, there is deep criticism of what was seen as a careful effort to manage the narrative of the murder, and cover up the guilt of higher ranking officials. UN officials lambasted it as a “mockery of justice.”

The main focuses of the trial were that Saudi al-Qahtani, a top aide to the Saudi crown prince, was totally exonerated. This was tantamount to exonerating the prince himself, who most believe ordered the killing in the first place.

On top of that, the official conclusion of the trial also tried to rubber stamp the existing Saudi narrative on the murder, saying that the kill team had no premeditated plan to kill the journalist, and that it just sort of happened spontaneously.

Investigations and analysis generally believe the crown prince ordered the kill team specifically to kidnap and kill Khashoggi, and dispose of his body. This led to calls for the US to cut back ties and arms sales to the Saudis, though President Trump broadly accepted the Saudis’ narrative, and resisted Congressional bills aimed to cut those sales.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.