The Khashoggi trial verdict has brought no closure to this tragedy – but it has weakened the Saudi kingdom

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s then Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reacts upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 24, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Editorial: The country must change – it is in no one’s interests to see it fall into decline and disarray

“The antithesis of justice.” That was the verdict of Agnes Callamard the UN special rapporteur, on the outcome of the Khashoggi trial. It was the soundest verdict of the day.
If this exercise in rigged justice was supposed to answer the questions raised by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and end the controversy, it has failed miserably. The outrage of the extrajudicial murder on foreign soil of a man whose only crime is to be a dissident continues to shame the Saudi government. It was more than a mere spur of the moment killing; it was a premeditated assassination by torture. The weight of evidence, including audiotapes, cannot be discounted.

As the UN representative indicates, it is impossible to believe that the five wretches now sentenced to death acted alone, and without the connivance of far more senior authorities – perhaps leading towards the very apex of the state. Ms Callamard’s message is damning and clear: “Bottom line: the hitmen are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free – they have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial.” She might have added that five of the hitmen will soon take their secrets to their own graves, their testimony as to who ordered what and when never to be heard.

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