Washington Post publisher rips Saudi trial in Khashoggi case as a 'sham'

The publisher of The Washington Post blasted an announcement by Saudi Arabian officials that they had sentenced five men to death for killing Post opinion contributor Jamal Khashoggi, calling it "a sham trial."

"The complete lack of transparency and the Saudi government's refusal to cooperate with independent investigators suggests that this was merely a sham trial," Fred Ryan said in Monday's statement.

SAUDI ARABIA SECURITY VIDEO LISTS FEMINISM, ATHEISM, HOMOSEXUALITY AS FORMS OF EXTREMISM

A Saudi court sentenced five people to death for the killing of Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year by a team of Saudi agents.

Reuters, citing the public prosecutor, reported that three others were sentenced to jail terms totaling 24 years. All can appeal the verdicts.

Mohammed bin Salman, the 34-year-old crown prince, drew international condemnation for the killing because several of the agents involved worked directly for him. The kingdom has carried out the trials of the accused in near-total secrecy.

GET THE FOX NEWS APP

State TV also reported the Saudi attorney general's investigation showed that the crown prince's former top adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, had no proven involvement in the killing. Al-Qahtani, however, has been sanctioned by the United States for his alleged role in the operation.

The court also ruled that the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at the time, Mohammed al-Otaibi, cleared of any wrongdoing. He was released from prison after the verdicts were announced, according to state TV.

"Those ultimately responsible, at the highest level of the Saudi government, continue to escape responsibility for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Ryan said.

Fox News' Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.