The Saudi Arabian government gave million-dollar houses and paid thousands of dollars to slain Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s children as “blood money”, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Khashoggi’s daughters, Noha and Razan, and sons, Salah and Abdullah, could also receive other enormous payouts as part of negotiations that will begin once the journalist’s accused killers go on trial in the coming months. The compensation was approved by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2018 in an attempt “to make a wrong right,” a former Saudi official said.
The children were given houses worth $4 million each in Jeddah, a city in Saudi Arabia. However, Khashoggi’s eldest son Salah is the only one planning to stay back in the kingdom, while the other three, who reside in the United States, plan to sell the homes.
Citing unnamed officials, the Post reported that the payments were given to the children as part of a settlement aimed at keeping them from criticizing the Saudi government and giving statements regarding their father’s killing in the hands of the Saudi operatives. Though Khashoggi’s death provoked global outrage, the children have abstained themselves from making statements about it.
Khashoggi’s daughters wrote an article in the Post about their father’s death, but did not criticize the kingdom for the killing.
“This is no eulogy, for that would confer a state of closure. Rather, this is a promise that his light will never fade, that his legacy will be preserved within us,” they wrote in the article.
Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post and a permanent resident of the U.S., was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Despite the Saudi government’s claims that the prince was not involved in the killing, the CIA concluded with “medium to high confidence” that the prince had ordered the killing. Saudi officials described the killing as an operation carried out to subdue the journalist and take him to Riyadh.
Khashoggi’s body was not found and it was believed that the killers disposed of the body after dismembering it. In a voice recording from the consulate, one Saudi official was heard telling the others to play loud music in order to mask the sound of an electric device.
Twenty-one people were being investigated by the Saudi authorities in connection with the murder and prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for five of them.