Khashoggi family forgives their father's killers

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The family of the brutally slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi announced a pardon for those involved in the killing in an act of forgiveness during Ramadan, the month of fasting, prayer, and reflection observed by the Muslim community.

Saudi media outlet Arab News sought to clarify Friday that the announcement made by Khashoggi's sons may spare the convicted killers from execution, but does not mean they will go unpunished.

Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul in October 2018.

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

However, Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz said on Friday that no one could pardon his killers.

He has also previously criticised "opponents and enemies" of Saudi Arabia who he said had tried to exploit his father's death to undermine the country's leadership.

There had been reports that Salah Khashoggi, who is a dual US-Saudi citizen, was barred from leaving the Kingdom in the aftermath of his father's death, along with other family members, some of whom are US residents.

Saudi authorities did not comment on the legal ramifications of this, but analysts said it could effectively grant clemency to five people on death row. His remains were never found.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sits next to a Saudi flag wearing a keffiyeh
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's image was tarnished by Jamal Khashoggi's death

While the Khashoggi family's decision means that Saudi courts can no longer consider the possibility of capital punishment for the assassins, it does not automatically entail that they will be set free.

The Crown Prince, commonly known as MBS, later took "full responsibility" for the killing in a sense that it happened on his watch, but denied that he ordered the assassination.

The Washington Post reported in April that Khashoggi's children, including Salah, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by authorities. Salah has rejected reports of a financial settlement with the Saudi government.

In this photo from November 27, 2018, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pictured while meeting with the Tunisian president at the presidential palace in Carthage, on the eastern outskirts of the capital Tunis.

The December verdict, which was lambasted by rights groups as a travesty of justice, underscored Saudi efforts to draw a line under the crisis as it seeks to reboot its global image ahead of this year's G20 summit in Riyadh.

Riyadh offered various, conflicting narratives to explain his disappearance before acknowledging he was murdered in the diplomatic building, while seeking to shift blame for his death on a botched rendition operation carried out by rogue agents.

I and others will not stop until we get justice for Jamal, ' she said.

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