Khashoggi’s family may have pardoned killers under Saudi pressure: Saudi scholar

A Saudi scholar says the family of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have forgiven his killers under “pressure and intimidation” from the Riyadh regime.

Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi academic at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and himself the son of a Saudi dissident, wrote in an article on The Washington Post that Khashoggi’s family, who said they pardoned the journalist’s killers, were “no different than any Saudi family that faces tremendous pressure and intimidation from the Saudi government.”

Pointing to several cases similar to what happened to Khashoggi, the Saudi scholar said, “We are witnessing an unprecedented number of cases in which families are used as hostages to intimidate activists and writers abroad.”

Alaoudh made the comment after Salah Khashoggi, the son of the slain Saudi dissident journalist, announced in a tweet on Friday that he had pardoned the killers of his father.

Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, however rejected his family’s decision to forgive their father’s murderers and said no one had the right to pardon the killers.

Khashoggi, she said, has become “an international symbol bigger than any of us, admired and loved.”

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, who had become a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad after being lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018.

Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, have concluded that bin Salman ordered the killing.

While 31 suspects were linked to the killing, only 11 were put on trial in Riyadh behind closed doors. Based on the court ruling, five people were sentenced to death, three to jail, and the remaining three were exonerated.

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