Sons of Jamal Khashoggi forgive his killers, clearing path for official pardons

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the country's consulate in Istanbul

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the country's consulate in Istanbul

'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, he said.

"We deeply hope that God Almighty will reward us for this, " Salah Khashoggi, who lives in Saudi Arabia, tweeted.

The family of the journalist - who was an outspoken critic of Saudi royals before his grisly murder at Riyadh's embassy in Istanbul in October 2018 - signaled in December that they would not oppose the verdicts handed out to those implicated in the case.

"His ambush and heinous murder does not have a statute of limitations", Cengiz said on Twitter.

There had been reports that Salah Khashoggi, who is a dual US-Saudi citizen, was barred from leaving the Kingdom in the aftermath of his father's death, along with other family members, some of whom are US residents.

An outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy, particularly of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), the elder Khashoggi fled to the U.S. in a self-imposed exile fearing for his life.

The announcement was largely expected because the trial in Saudi Arabia left the door open for a reprieve by ruling in December that the killing was not premeditated.

Turkish officials say Khashoggi, 59, was strangled and his body was cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi group inside the kingdom's mission.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sits next to a Saudi flag wearing a keffiyeh
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's image was tarnished by Jamal Khashoggi's death

He has also previously criticised "opponents and enemies" of Saudi Arabia who he said had tried to exploit his father's death to undermine the country's leadership.

Riyadh has described the murder as a "rogue" operation, but both the Central Intelligence Agency and a United Nations special envoy have directly linked Prince Mohammed to the killing, a charge the kingdom vehemently denies. Three other people were sentenced to jail terms totaling 24 years. The killers, sentenced to death, are still likely to face lengthy prison sentences. His remains have not been found.

However, a report by United Nations envoy Callamard linked Prince Mohammed to the killing, a claim which the kingdom denies.

Prior to his death, Mr Kashoggi was living in the USA and writing for The Washington Post newspaper.

The December verdict, condemned by human rights groups as a travesty of justice, underscored Saudi efforts to draw a line under the crisis as it seeks to reboot its global image ahead of this year's G20 summit in Riyadh.

To that end, the children were given multimillion-dollar homes and monthly five-figure payments as part of a compensation package that was approved by King Salman soon after Khashoggi's killing, officials said.

The prince has denied any involvement in the murder, but has said he took "full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government".

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