After a secretive trial that lasted almost a year, Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to die for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the country's Istanbul consulate last year. Prosecutors say, however, that three suspects, including the two most senior officials accused of involvement in the crime, were acquitted because of "insufficient evidence," reports the Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a columnist. Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi royal family, was murdered and dismembered on Oct. 2, 2018, by a team of Saudi agents after visiting the consulate to obtain documents he needed to remarry. Prosecutors say 11 people were put on trial over the "rogue operation."
Prosecutor say another three suspects were handed prison sentences adding up to 24 years for "covering up this crime and violating the law," the BBC reports. Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said Monday that the killing was not planned in advance, but the head of a "negotiating" team sent to bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia decided on the murder "on the spur of the moment" after deciding it would be impossible to move him. Yasin Aktay, a friend of Khashoggi's and a member of Turkey's ruling party, tells the AP that justice has not been done. "The prosecutor sentenced five hit men to death but did not touch those who were behind the five," Aktay says. "These are people who cannot even use the bathroom without the permission of their superiors." (Saudi Arabia's crown prince claims he didn't know anything about the killing.)