The son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has released a statement via Twitter forgiving his father’s killers.
In the statement, posted on Friday, Salah Khashoggi said his family pardons those who took the reporter’s life in 2018 when he visited Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
“In this blessed night of the blessed month (of Ramadan) we remember God’s saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah.”
“Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty” he added.
Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate where he had gone to get the necessary documents for his wedding. His body was dismembered and removed from the building and his remains have not been found.
Under Islamic law, death sentences in Saudi Arabia can be commuted if the victim’s family pardons the perpetrator, but it is not clear whether that will happen in this case.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiance, wrote on Twitter on Friday that “nobody has the right to pardon the killers”.
Yahya Assiri, the head of UK-based Saudi rights group ALQST, echoed Cengiz’s reaction.
“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is not a family case, it is not a mistake in a normal context!” he wrote on Twitter, saying Khashoggi’s murder was not due to a personal disagreement.
“The authorities killed him because of his political work,” Assiri said. “His case is political, so keep silent!”
Assiri shared a statement signed by dozens of other Saudi activists and politicians, refuting what they called the repackaging of Khashoggi’s murder by the Saudi authorities into a familial one.
“We reject the use of Saudi authorities of some of Khashoggi’s family members to whitewash the country’s judiciary and dwarfing Khashoggi’s case,” the statement said, adding that Khashoggi’s family or at least some members of it do not have their full freedom to say what they want.
“Secondly, and more importantly, the fact is that the issue does not concern Jamal Khashoggi’s family only, but rather is an issue of public opinion as Khashoggi was a political writer who criticised the political system and was killed for that.”