The family of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi announced Friday they have forgiven his Saudi killers, giving legal reprieve to the five government agents who’d been sentenced to death for an operation that cast a cloud of suspicion over the kingdom’s crown prince. The announcement was largely expected because the trial in Saudi Arabia left the door open for reprieve by ruling in December that the killing was not premeditated.
Saudi Arabia is tripling its value added tax (VAT) as part of austerity measures to support its coronavirus-hit economy. The government in Riyadh also said it will suspend its cost of living allowance to shore up state finances. The kingdom first introduced VAT two years ago as part of efforts to cut its reliance on world crude oil markets.
Saudi Arabia has ended the death penalty for crimes committed by minors after effectively abolishing floggings, as the kingdom seeks to blunt criticism over its human rights record. The death penalty was eliminated for those convicted of crimes committed while they were minors, Human Rights Commission president Awwad Alawwad said in a statement, citing a royal decree.
Saudi Arabia put 184 people to death in 2019, the highest number Amnesty International has ever recorded in a single year in the country, despite Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s public commitment to reducing the number of executions. Amnesty International released a 59-page report Monday that found that while global executions last year hit a 10-year low, falling by 5 percent compared to 2018.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed a Yemeni man found guilty of attacking a Spanish dance troupe and wounding three people on stage before a stunned audience in the capital last year. The Interior Ministry identified the man as 33-year-old Yemeni national Emad Abdelqawi al-Mansouri. It marked the first such incidence of violence since the kingdom began loosening restrictions on entertainment around two years ago.
The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian. The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.
Five people have been sentenced to death over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor says. Three more have been given jail terms totaling 24 years after the murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year. Saudi Arabia has carried out the trials of the accused in near total secrecy after Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman drew international condemnation for the killing.
Women will no longer have to be segregated from men in restaurants in Saudi Arabia, according to the country’s government. Until now, women have been required to use separate entrances and sit behind partitions when dining in public. The announcement comes as the latest reform to ease the strict social rules that have been in effect across the kingdom for decades.
The Saudi government hired two Twitter employees to get personal account information about critics of the regime, US prosecutors say. The accounts included a journalist with more than a million followers, as well as other well-known critics, according to the complaint, which was unsealed in the US District Court in San Francisco. The employees were rewarded with a designer watch and tens of thousands of dollars in secret bank accounts, the allegation says.
Saudi Arabia is moving forward with an initial public offering of its huge state oil producer that could shatter records and give investors the chance to own a piece of the world’s most profitable company. Following approval from the country’s regulators, Saudi Aramco on Sunday formally announced its intention to float shares on the Tadawul exchange in Riyadh. The company posted a $68 billion profit for the first nine months of this year.