GENEVA: Dozens of Western countries voiced concern on Tuesday at Saudi Arabia’s continued detention of women activists and called for those behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be brought to justice.
Western nations also criticized Saudi Arabia’s handling of the Khashoggi case.
A Saudi court this month jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for the murder of the journalist in 2018 at its consulate in Istanbul. The trial drew criticism from a U.N. investigator and from human rights campaigners who said the masterminds of the murder remained free.
None of the defendants were named in what was described as the final court ruling on the killing which had sparked an international outcry.
The verdict came after Khashoggi’s sons said in May 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 unnamed people sentenced to death over the 2018 murder in a December court ruling, which was lambasted by human rights groups after two top aides to the crown prince were exonerated.
Khashoggi — a royal family insider turned critic — was killed and dismembered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old critic of the crown prince, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate, according to Turkish officials. His remains have not been found.
Riyadh had described the murder as a “rogue” operation.