Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to 20 years in prison for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, replacing death sentences issued in 2019.
Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.
Saudi Arabia enforces basic Islamic laws, which allow a death penalty to be commuted if a murder victim’s family has forgiven the killers or accepted a payment, known as “diya” in Arabic.
Monday’s commuted sentences come after the sons of Khashoggi said in May they had forgiven their father’s killers.
These are the final verdicts and were issued after the “relatives of the deceased dropped their legal right,” the kingdom’s top prosecutor said in a statement on Monday.
Three others were also convicted in the case, and were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail.
Turkey claims Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi hit squad and his body was dismembered after he entered the consulate to obtain paperwork to marry Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting for him outside.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said that the Washington Post columnist’s death was a “rogue operation” and denied that powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely viewed as the kingdom’s de facto ruler, was involved.
Khashoggi was once close to the Saudi royal family but became a vocal critic of Mohammed. His remains were never found.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza
15th Abuja Int’l trade fair to feature 500 exhibitors – ACCI
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says its 15th Abuja International Trade Fair will feature not more than 500 local and foreign exhibitors.
ACCI Media Officer Latifat Opoola who made the disclosure on Sunday said the fair would hold in October at the Abuja Trade and Convention with the theme “Trade and Commerce Beyond Borders”.
According to Opoola, this year’s event in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols will only showcase indoor and virtual exhibitions to make room for a controlled environment that will ensure social distancing.
She noted that an average attendance of 100,000 visitors from both Nigeria and 150 countries, including U.K., United States, UAE, India, Malasyia and China would participate both physically and virtually at the fair.
She said other countries like Saudi Arabia, Ghana, South Africa, among others, were expected to participate.
She noted that over the years, the fair had been an amazing trade platform for international and domestic industry professionals, leading brands and MSMEs to transact, share market insights, cutting edge technology and expertise in an interactive environment.
“This year’s event will provide a platform for sharing of trade, investment and market opportunity as well as information. It will also help buyers, investors and traders to foster business relationships.
“Over 500 exhibitors from within and outside Nigeria in all sectors of the economy, including Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining, Electricity, Oil and Gas, Tourism, Textile, Transport, Telecommunications, Financial and Service sectors are expected to participate.
“With a team of trade professionals, we are persistent in providing a conducive trading atmosphere for our exhibitors, which will lead to strategies and tactics needed to innovate, grow and promote businesses,” she said in a statement.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on Oct. 22, while the closing ceremony holds on Nov. 2.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)
United States initiates ‘snapback’ process to reimpose sanctions on Iran – Pompeo
The United States has initiated the so-called snapback process to restore almost all previously lifted UN sanctions against Iran, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday.
“Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism,” Pompeo said.
He said the snapback of previously terminated UN sanctions became effective at 8 pm Washington time (0000 GMT).
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the United States move, saying that the snapback mechanism and reimposed sanctions were invalid.
“This step is not supported by the UN Security Council because the United States is no longer in the nuclear agreement and accordingly no longer plays a role in UN resolution 2231,” Zarif said referring to the resolution in which the UNSC backed the Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna in 2015.
The move by Washington was merely a “propaganda trick” ahead of the United States election, Zarif said on Iranian state television.
Washington’s plans to reimpose international sanctions on Iran have been met with overwhelming opposition from other countries.
Other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), including key United States allies who are part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, have rejected Washington’s move and have vowed to ignore it.
Under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran limited its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
“Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231. On August 20, the United States notified the President of the Security Council of Iran’s significant non-performance of its JCPOA commitments,” Pompeo said in the Saturday statement.
“Virtually all @UN sanctions have returned on Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism.
“This includes a permanent extension of the arms embargo. This is great news for peace in the region!” Pompeo added on Twitter.
He later added that Washington would soon “announce a range of additional measures to strengthen enforcement of @UN sanctions on Iran.”
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until it stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” he said.
United States special representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams had already signalled Washington’s determination to reimpose sanctions on Tehran earlier this week.
The United States launched a formal bid in August to revive the UN sanctions under the “snapback” mechanism included in the Iran deal.
Those sanctions include the indefinite extension of an arms embargo that would otherwise expire in October.
But few countries believe Washington’s move is legal, as United States President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018.
Washington said it would provide more information this weekend and next week on how the United States intended to enforce the global sanctions.
“In the coming days, the United States will announce a range of additional measures to strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable,” Pompeo said in Saturday’s statement.
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” Pompeo asserted.
Trump is likely to address Iran in his speech next week to the UN General Assembly’s largely online meeting of world leaders.
The stand-off between the United States and other member states over the issue threatens a diplomatic crisis at the world body.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
WTO leadership race: Okonjo-Iweala, 4 others advance to second round of election
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate aspiring to the position of Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has won the first run of elections and has àlong with four others advanced to the second phase..
The other contestants, who are from Kenya, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UK, on Friday advanced to the next round of voting after six days of confidential consultation with members.
Amb. David Walker, Chair of the WTO General Council in a briefing on the outcome of the election told the Head of Delegation meeting that the entire organisation’s membership was committed and fully engaged in the consultation process.
“Throughout the six days of consultations it was clear to us that the entire membership is both committed to and fully engaged in this process.
“Members consider all the candidates highly qualified and respected individuals.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which they, their delegations, and their governments have conducted themselves in this process.
“Their willingness to engage, especially at these challenging times, has been greatly appreciated, and the organisation is in their debt,” Walker said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that during the consultations, Walker alongside his co-facilitators in the election process, posed to each delegation one question: “What are your preferences?”
Members then submitted four preferences to the “troika” of ambassadors.
The facilitators are Amb. Dacio Castillo, Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body, and Amb. Harald Aspelund, chair of the Trade Policy Review Body.
The consultation process taken by facilitators has been set by guidelines established by the General Council in a 2002 decision.
Based on the guidelines, the key consideration in determining which candidate is best poised to achieve consensus is the “breadth of support” each candidate receives from the members.
Walker said that the second phase of the consultations would begin on Sept. 24 and end on Oct. 6.
“During this time, members will be asked in the confidential consultations to express two preferences.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Coronavirus: Biden says Trump trusted less than Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi
United States Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden said that President Donald Trump Administration’s way of handling the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was one of the reasons he was trusted by fewer foreigners than Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Biden said this during a CNN town hall meeting in the Pennsylvania state.
The United States is set to hold a presidential election on Nov. 3.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time. I never ever thought I would see such a thoroughly totally irresponsible administration,” Biden said.
“It’s one of the reasons why if you take a look at the Pew Foundation poll — guess what, Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi Jinping are trusted by more people in the world than the president of America.
“And one of the reasons they say is COVID-19.”
According to Biden, not only did the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 cause loss of lives in the United States, but it also caused Washington “to lose [its] influence in ways that are profound.”
The Democrat politician further described China as a “serious competitor” and Russia as an “opponent” to the United States, vowing more sanctions on Moscow in the case if it meddles in the upcoming presidential election.
The United States repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in its political processes, in particular, during the 2016 presidential election. Moscow has consistently denied these allegations.
In 2019, United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller, mandated to investigate the alleged interference, found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
But established that Moscow systematically interfered in the United States elections via two chief methods — social media campaigns and intelligence-backed cyberattacks.
Moscow responded by pointing to the lack of actual evidence to support this assumption.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa