OPN Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia released a statement rejecting the US report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The statement, released on Twitter, categorically rejected "negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom's leadership..."

The statement added, "It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the kingdom’s leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again."

Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist, was murdered on October 20, 2018, at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. He was visiting the consulate to complete paperwork related to his divorce.

In December 2019, a Saudi Arabian court sentenced five people to death for the murder of Khashoggi, and three others were sentenced to a total of 24 years in jail. However, in September 2020, capital punishment was changed to a maximum prison sentence - after the family issued pardons for the convicted killers.

Capital punishment is legal under Saudi Arabian law, but the family of the victim has the right to pardon or grant clemency to the perpetrator. Once ratified, this pardon prevents the perpetrator from receiving the death penalty.

Representatives of the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as a representative from Turkey were present during the 2019 trials, according to the Public Prosecutor. Khashoggi’s sons and their lawyer were also present during the trials.

UAE stands with Saudi Arabia

The UAE has upheld the statement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the assassination.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed its confidence in the Saudi judiciary rulings, which affirm the Kingdom's commitment to implementing the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and holding all those involved in the case accountable.

“The UAE fully supports Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to establish stability and security in the region,” the ministry said in a statement issued on Saturday, stressing the country’s rejection of any attempts to exploit Khashoggi’s issue or interfere in the Kingdom's internal affairs.

- Inputs from WAM