I don’t think this is going to fool anybody.

Courtesy of the AP:

Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death on Monday for the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew sharp international criticism and marred the crown prince’s relationship with members of Congress in Washington.

The Riyadh criminal court found another three people guilty of covering up the crime. They were sentenced for a combined 24 years in prison, according to a statement read by the Saudi attorney general’s office on state TV.

In total, 11 people had been on trial in Saudi Arabia for the killing, but the government has not made their names public. All the verdicts are preliminary and can be appealed.

A handful of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family were allowed to attend the nine court sessions, though independent media were barred.

While the case in Saudi Arabia has largely concluded, questions linger in the international court of public opinion about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s culpability in the slaying.

Suspects are not identified, international journalists were barred from attending the court sessions, I smell something fishy.

Seems pretty obvious that this is just an attempt to convince the world that Saudi Arabia is taking responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder, while protecting those actaully responsible. 

I have little doubt that Trump and his supporters will tout this as proof positive Saudi Arabia has punished Khashoggi’s murderers. 

But that should not conince any of us without some real, independently varified, proof that these are the people responsible. 

And unless one of those put to death is Mohammed bin Salman that is very unlikely.