The sons of murdered Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi said Friday they had forgiven the killers of their father, a move analysts said effectively grants clemency to five convicts on death row.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old critic of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey according to Turkish officials. His remains have not yet been found.
His family’s pardon is expected to spare the lives of five unnamed people sentenced to death over the murder in a December court ruling.
“On this holy night of this blessed month (of Ramadan)… we the sons of martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce we forgive and pardon those who killed our father,” Salah Khashoggi said on Twitter.
Salah Khashoggi, who lives in Saudi Arabia and has received financial compensation from the royal court over the killing, explained that forgiveness was extended to the killers during the last nights of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in line with Islamic tradition to offer pardons in cases allowed by Islamic law.
The announcement drew anger from Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who said “no one” had the right to pardon his murderers.
“His ambush and heinous murder does not have a statute of limitations. We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing,” Cengiz said on Twitter.
Out of 11 individuals indicted in the case — most of whom remain unnamed — five were sentenced to death, three face jail terms totalling 24 years and the others were acquitted, according to the public prosecutor.