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'Credible evidence' links Saudi prince to Khashoggi murder

June 19, 2019

The UN said that Khashoggi was "the victim of a brutal and premeditated" murder, "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi officials. The journalist was allegedly strangled in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Combined photo of Jamal Khashoggi (L) and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

That is the conclusion of Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, who on Wednesday issued her report on the killing. 

Callamard cited "credible evidence" that high-level Saudi officials were implicated in the "premeditated" murder.

"Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law," Callamard said in her report based on a six-month probe.

The report stressed that "no conclusion is made as to guilt," but Callamard called for "targeted sanctions" against the crown prince.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called the investigator's report "nothing new."

"The report of the rapporteur in the human rights council contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility," he wrote on Twitter. 

The report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include Saudi Arabia, on June 26.

'Chilling and gruesome' materials

Callamard led an international inquiry into the killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Agnes Callamard
Callamard criticized Saudi authorities for blocking the investigationImage: picture-alliance/AP/C. Yurttas

After a visit to Turkey in February, Callamard said that Turkish investigators were hampered in their investigation of Khashoggi's killing in Istanbul.

"Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows [a] prima facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia," Callamard said.

The UN investigator said that her team could not find Khashoggi's remains but did have access to some "chilling and gruesome audio materials" obtained by Turkish authorities.

Read more: Khashoggi killers received training in the United States — report

'Lack of transparency'

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia's ruling family, was killed on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He had been living in exile in the US and was picking up paperwork ahead of his marriage.

His murder sparked an international outcry. Saudi Arabia initially denied that he had been killed, and US intelligence officials, among others, accused the crown prince of direct involvement in the murder.

Read more: From Badawi to Khashoggi: Freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia

Following the murder, Turkish media published photos showing individuals from Salman's inner circle at the Istanbul consulate where Khashoggi was later murdered. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Khashoggi's murder reached the top levels of the Saudi government.

In January, Saudi authorities opened the murder trial in Riyadh, with the state prosecution announcing it would seek death sentences for five of the 11 suspects.

Turkish officials sought to have the Saudi suspects extradited to Turkey to stand trial there, but Saudi Arabia repeatedly turned down the requests.

UN extrajudicial executions investigator Callamard denounced the lack of transparency at the kingdom's Khashoggi murder trial.

Saudis face growing pressure over Khashoggi killing

shs/rt (Reuters, AFP)

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