It's being slammed as a "parody of justice" - but what should we really expect out of the 'kingdom of horrors' - whose leadership (which has all but admitted to the state-ordered murder and dismemberment of a well-known journalist) was long ago re-embraced with open arms by both Washington and Wall Street after a brief one year period of semi-isolation?
"The son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has released a statement via Twitter forgiving his father's killers," Al Jazeera reports. "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."
And yes, in Saudi law this has significant and direct legal ramifications: "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," explains Al Jazeera further.
It's set off a firestorm of controversy both inside and outside the kingdom, after neither the deceased Khashoggi - a Washington Post columnist killed and dismembered on October 2, 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul - nor his surviving fiance, will never see any level of justice, apparently. Those ordering the hit, which subsequent CIA and UN investigations found went straight to the top - no less than MbS himself - have gotten off scot-free.
Needless to say this appears all too convenient, and all couched in religious garb:
"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," Khashoggi's son Salah Khashoggi said Friday
"Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty" he added.
Again this has legal ramifications, and can potentially ensure the higher-ups that ordered the murder are free from any future legal punishment (some lower-level operatives were previously scape-goated of course, and issued death sentences in what many considered a highly dubious "nothing to see here" court proceeding).
Khashoggi's fiance, Hatice Cengiz, didn't buy the "forgiveness": she responded on Twitter Friday, saying "nobody has the right to pardon the killers".
Jamal was killed inside his country's consulate while getting the docs to complete our marriage. The killers came from Saudi with premeditation to lure, ambush & kill him. Nobody has the right to pardon the killers. We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing— Hatice Cengiz / خديجة (@mercan_resifi) May 22, 2020
A separate statement from activists and Saudi rights campaigners spelled out: "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."
Given Salah Khashoggi and other family members reside in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, they were accused of not speaking freely. It certainly has the whiff of an orchestrated state-PR campaign with MbS as the ultimate beneficiary. Likely political leaders in the West, back in MbS' pocket, will consider to "pardon" ultimately "good enough".
This is Mohammad Bin Salam's message to US President Trump: you can no longer blackmail me; now fuck off. #SaudiArabia #USA— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) May 22, 2020
Jamal Khashoggi's son Salah says family 'forgives' killers @AJENews https://t.co/wWX863pMO5
As we underscored last year, it'll be business as usual again: A year later we now know more about the Saudi state-sanctioned murder, with comprehensive investigative reports by the UN and CIA pointing the finger directly at MbS for ordering the grizzly hit and dismemberment, and though last year's "Davos in the Desert" was boycotted by a number of high profile companies and CEOs, this year's MbS-hosted investment forum in Riyadh appears business as usual once again, a mere one short year later.