A Saudi court verdict that exonerated the crown prince’s top aides over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been globally condemned as a travesty of justice, but won the backing of ally Washington. Five unnamed people were sentenced to death on Monday while three others were handed jail terms totalling 24 years over the Washington Post columnist’s killing last year in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate. The verdict underscores Saudi efforts to turn the page on one of its worst diplomatic crises that tarnished Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s global reputation and sparked intense scrutiny of the kingdom’s human rights record.
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