(CNN)Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a “deliberate, premeditated execution,” a United Nations special rapporteur has concluded in the first independent investigation into his death.
The Saudi attorney general later acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder.
The special rapporteur does not make any conclusions on the guilt of the Saudi Crown Prince and King. Instead, Callamard says that there is “credible evidence meriting further investigation by a proper authority” as to whether the “threshold of criminal responsibility has been met.”
She goes on to say that Khashoggi was “fully aware of the powers held by the Crown Prince” and had expressed fears about what would happen to him if he returned to the kingdom.
CNN has reached out to the Saudi government for a response to Wednesday’s report.
Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi. US officials, however, have said such a mission — including 15 men sent from Riyadh — could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman.
According to the report — which cites evidence from Turkish and other intelligence agencies — after entering the consulate, Khashoggi was injected with a sedative and then his head put inside a plastic bag and suffocated.
It quotes an audio recording from inside the consulate, in which Khashoggi is heard being told he will be taken to Saudi Arabia.
“We will have to take you back. There is an order from Interpol,” a Saudi man tells the journalist, who replies that “there isn’t a case against me” and warns them that people are waiting for him outside the consulate.
The men instruct Khashoggi to write a text message to his son, and argue over what he should say before a voice says “Cut it short.”
“There is a towel here. Are you going to give me drugs?” Khashoggi asks.
“We will anesthetize you,” a man responds.
A struggle can then be heard, after which a man asks whether Khashoggi has passed out.
“He raises his head.”
“Push here; don’t remove your hand; push it.”
The special rapporteur found credible evidence pointing to the crime scenes having been “thoroughly, even forensically, cleaned” — indicating that the Saudi investigation was “not conducted in good faith, and that it may amount to obstructing justice.”
Repercussions for Riyadh
While US President Donald Trump has shied away from taking a hard line against bin Salman, wishing to retain Riyadh’s support in pressuring Iran and flow of money for arms sales, other American politicians have sought to punish the Saudis.
Washington has also eased up on Saudi rival Qatar, after initially backing Riyadh’s attempts to blockade its fellow Gulf monarchy.
All rights and copyright belong to the author:
Source – https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/19/middleeast/khashoggi-saudi-arabia-report-intl/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_latest+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Most+Recent%29