Saudi Arabia’s crown prince should be investigated for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi amid “credible evidence” that he and other high-level officials in the kingdom are liable in the journalist’s “deliberate, premeditated execution,” a UN investigator has concluded.
Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur, released a scathing 101-page report Wednesday into what happened to Khashoggi, 59, a US-based Washington Post columnist who was murdered Oct. 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“It is the conclusion of the special rapporteur that Mr. 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,” she said.
Although Callamard said she found no “smoking gun” evidence incriminating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, she said he almost certainly was aware that a criminal mission targeting Khashoggi was being planned, The Washington Post reported.
“Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr. Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources and finances,” she wrote.
“While the Saudi government claims that these resources were put in place by Ahmed Asiri, every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the Crown Prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched.”
Callamard said the responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder extends beyond the 11 unnamed Saudis who are on trial in a closed-door judicial proceeding – adding that Riyadh is responsible for the extrajudicial killing, which possibly involved torture, and that Saudi authorities had destroyed evidence.
Using recordings of conversations from inside the consulate, where Khashoggi went to pick up documents for his planned wedding, the report pieces together his last moments, and how he was confronted by Saudi officials, one of whom said: “We are coming to get you,” The Guardian of the UK reported.
Callamard’s report concludes: “Assessments of the recordings by intelligence officers in Turkey and other countries suggest that Mr. Khashoggi could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag.”
Among other findings in the damning report are that the investigations conducted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey failed to meet international standards involving homicides and that the Saudi investigation was not conducted in good faith, and might amount to obstructing justice.
The report also demands that the trial of the 11 suspects in Saudi Arabia be suspended amid concerns of a lack of credibility.
“Some eight months after the execution of Mr. Khashoggi, the determination and assignment of individual responsibilities remain clouded in secrecy and lack of due process,” according to the report.
“To date, the Saudi state has failed to offer public recognition of its responsibility for the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, and it has failed to offer an apology to Mr. Khashoggi’s family, friends and colleagues for his death and for the manner in which he was killed.
It adds: “The special rapporteur obtained information regarding a financial package offered to the children of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi but it is questionable whether such package amounts to compensation under international human rights law.”
In one recording from inside the consulate on Oct. 1, one man is heard saying: “A commission is coming from Saudi Arabia tomorrow. They have something to do in the consulate … Their work inside will take two or three days.”
One Saudi official asked in another exchange whether it would “be possible to put the trunk in a bag.” Another person replied: “No. Too heavy. It is not a problem. The body is heavy. First time I cut on the ground. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.”
In a conversation with Khashoggi, an official told him he would have to be taken back to Saudi Arabia.
“There is an order from Interpol. Interpol requested you to be sent back. We are coming to get you,” an official says.
Khashoggi was asked about his phones and told to type a message, which he refused to do, according to the report.
“What should I say? See you soon? I can’t say kidnapping. I will not write anything,” the dissident journalist says in the recording.
An official then told him to “type it, Mr. Jamal. Hurry up. Help us so that we can help you because at the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia and if you don’t help us you know what will happen at the end; let this issue find a good end.”
Khashoggi could later be heard saying: “There is a towel here. Are you going to give me drugs?”
“We will anesthetize you,” an official responded and sounds of a struggle are heard.
In the recordings, sounds of a struggle can be heard, the UN report says.
“Mr. Khashoggi’s execution is emblematic of a global pattern of targeted killing of, and threats against, journalists and media workers that is regularly denounced by states, UN agencies, special procedures, and by numerous international and national human rights organizations,” the report says.
Washington has so far avoided assigning blame, saying the US is still learning details.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump have denounced the killing of Khashoggi — but have said the relationship with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally against Iran, is too important to be sidetracked by one incident.
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Source – https://nypost.com/2019/06/19/un-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-should-be-investigated-for-jamal-khashoggis-murder/