A Saudi court has on Monday overturned five death sentences over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi who went missing on October 2, 2018, while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a spokesman for the public prosecutor that “five of the convicts were given 20 years in prison and another three were jailed for seven to 10 years,” in a final ruling in the case that saw the Washington Post columnist killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad. None of the defendants were named.
The trial was widely criticized by rights groups and an independent UN investigator, who noted no senior officials nor anyone suspected of ordering the killing was found guilty. The independence of the court was also brought into question.
Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 after he entered the premises to obtain paperwork for his planned marriage.
Turkish officials say 59-year-old Khashoggi’s body was dismembered at the consulate by the killers and his remains are yet to be found.
Back in May, Khashoggi’s sons said that they had “pardoned” the killers, a move condemned as a “parody of justice” by a UN expert. The family’s pardon spared the lives of five people sentenced to death last December.
According to Turkish officials, Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate. His remains have not been found.
Riyadh has described the murder as a “rogue” operation, but both the CIA and a UN special envoy have directly linked Prince Mohammed to the killing, a charge the kingdom vehemently denies.
The Turkish fiancée of the slain journalist, Hatice Cengiz, branded the verdict a “farce”. Cengiz said on Twitter the “the ruling handed down today in Saudi Arabia again makes a complete mockery of justice.”
North Korea Apologizes For ‘Unfortunate’ Killing Of South Korean Official
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologized for the killing of a South Korean official, an incident which could have been a disaster for any hopes of rekindling talks between the South and the North.
According to a report by Yonhap news agency on Friday Kim reportedly told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened.
Earlier on Monday, a South Korean fisheries official disappeared from a fisheries patrol boat when it was about 10km (six miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas.
On Thursday, South Korea said on Thursday the 47-year-old man had been shot dead by North Korean troops and his body burned.
In a message to Seoul, Kim said he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
News agency reported that the North said it had conducted its own investigation into the incident and found that soldiers near its western sea border had fired at least 10 shots at the South Korean. The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent coronavirus from entering the country.
However, the North insisted that it had not burned the man’s body but rather the “floating material” that was carrying him.
Also, some experts were skeptical of claims that the man had been trying to defect to a country that has seen more than 30,000 North Koreans fleeing to South Korea in the past two decades, defections from South to North are rare.
Belarus: Mass Protests After Lukashenko Secretly Sworn In
Mass street protests have continued in Belarus’s capital of Minsk, after the unannounced swearing in of president Alexander Lukashenko.
There were reports of beatings and detentions by police, and video footage showed water cannon being used.
Lukashenko was secretly sworn in for a sixth term, with only a few hundred supporters in attendance. Opposition members call the ceremony, quote: “thieves’ meeting”.
The opposition says last month’s poll was rigged in Lukashenko’s favour.
Belarus electoral commission announced Lukashenko won more than 80% of the vote, triggering weeks of mass protests across the country.
Several EU countries and the us say they do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
Two Louisville Police Officers Shot And Injured Amid Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death
Protesters took to the streets of Louisville, Kentucky expressing anger hours after a grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for killing Breonna Taylor.
Authorities confirmed two officers were shot and wounded during the demonstrations over police killings of black people.
Interim Louisville police chief, Robert Schroeder, said a suspect was in custody but did not offer details on whether that person was participating in the demonstrations. He said both officers are expected to recover.
The violence comes after prosecutors said two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor, a black woman, were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend.
The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.
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