Saudis Making Financial Amends for Khashoggi Murder
Reports say journalist’s children have accepted money, homes as compensation
The family of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Istanbul in October, has reportedly accepted a diya – financial compensation paid under Islamic law to the victim or the heirs of a victim in cases of murder, bodily harm or property damage. The compensation will come from the Saudi government.
CNN quoted an informed source as saying that each of Khashoggi’s four children – two sons and two daughters – has been given a home worth some 15 million Saudi riyals (about $4 million).
The source added that each one of the siblings – including Salah, who as Khashoggi’s eldest son represents the family before the Saudi government, has received 1 million riyals (about $267,000). Each will also receive monthly payments of between $10,000 and $15,000, which could continue indefinitely.
“The topic of compensating the family of Khashoggi concerns reparation,” Sulaiman al-Oquily, a Saudi political analyst, told The Media Line. He explained that it is a procedure followed in the kingdom to compensate the families of Saudi “martyrs,” as well as victims of natural disasters or human mistakes. “It exists in the Islamic system, and the Saudi government adopts it as a country-approved measure.”
Oquily pointed out that the Saudi government had compensated thousands of families of victims throughout the years.
“It’s not a new or special thing,” he said.
Khashoggi’s family may receive additional money after the trial in Riyadh of 11 suspects accused of the killing, and closure of the case. It could reach between 100 million and 200 million riyals (between $26.7 million and $53.3 million), according to reports based on similar cases in which the Saudi government intervened.
Khashoggi was murdered on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, in what Riyadh has described as a “rogue” operation that was not sanctioned by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He entered the consulate to obtain documents related to his pending marriage, and was not seen again.
Riyadh has long been accused of mistreating human rights activists and other citizens who have disagreed with its political system and policies. Since last year, more than a hundred Saudi academics, activists and Islamic scholars have been detained.
Mahmoud al-Sharbene, an Egyptian political analyst, told The Media Line that the diya proved the involvement of Saudi authorities in murdering Khashoggi, and that this was “a dangerous indicator on civilization in the Middle East.”
Sharbene added that any civilization starts with human beings and their freedoms, and there can be no civilization without them.
“It’s not about Khashoggi himself, but the price he paid for his freedom of speech,” he told The Media Line. “He paid with his life for speaking his mind.”
Sharbene suggested that Khashoggi’s family might have been forced to accept the financial compensation.
“The crime has caused a clear confusion among the Saudi citizens, and the authorities must control” public discourse on the issue, he said.
He added that at the end of day, Saudi Arabia was a kingdom and not a democratic state with independent institutions.
“A case like Khashoggi’s doesn’t change the Saudi system, but creates confusion,” al-Sharbene said.
Sources say that Salah Khashoggi, who has dual American and Saudi nationality, is the only one among the four siblings who wants to stay in Saudi Arabia. His brothers and two sisters have decided to live in the United States and don’t want to return.