REG 191224  Saud Al Qahtani-1577204664480
Saud Al Qahtani

Cairo: An ex-adviser at the Saudi royal court has celebrated his acquittal in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by penning a poem, local media reported Tuesday.

Saud Al Ghatani, 41, was one of several people cleared in the high-profile case for lack of evidence. In reaction, he wrote a poem, quoted by Saudi news portal Ajel, saying: “Oh God, You have the order for the Doomsday, and at Your command the living dies and the newborn lives;

“You provide me with complete, gracious thanks for emergence of right with the world bearing witness;

“Right has dispelled darkness of the night of doubts. Right, however long its absence, returns with promised victory.”

In the poem, Al Qahtani also lashes back at Qatari and Turkish smear campaigns, saying his detractors hated him because of his defence of the homeland.

On Monday, Saudi prosecutors said that five people had been sentenced to death in preliminary court verdicts in connection with Khashoggi’s killing more than a year ago in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

The court, which handled the case, also gave varying jail terms totalling 24 years to three co-defendants on charges of complicity and cleared three others.

Ten others, including Al Qahtani and Ahmad Asiri, an ex-deputy intelligence chief, were released due to lack of evidence, according to a prosecution official.

Representatives from Khashoggi’s family, Turkey and the five permanent member countries of the UN Security Council had attended the trial hearings in Saudi Arabia. Investigations showed there was no “prior” intention to kill Khashoggi, a prosecution spokesman said.

In November 2018, Saudi prosecutors accused 11 Saudi nationals of involvement in the killing of Khashoggi and demanded the death penalty for five of them.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly refused calls for an international trial in the case, insisting the procedure violates its sovereignty.