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UN report cites ‘credible evidence’ linking Saudi Arabia crown prince to journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

In January 2019, the UN's human rights office tasked Callamard with establishing "the nature and extent of states' and individuals' responsibilities for the killing".

A UN expert citing ‘credible information’ has stated that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated in the murder of Washington Post columnist and Kingdom critic Jamal Khashoggi.

In October, last year, the Turkish authorities had insinuated the Crown prince of Saudi Arabia of executing a premeditated homicide of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

A report by the special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, read that the “personal assets” should be targeted with sanctions until there is proof he was not responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“In view of the credible evidence into the responsibilities of the Crown Prince for (Khashoggi’s) murder, such sanctions ought also to include the Crown Prince and his personal assets abroad, until and unless evidence is provided and corroborated that he carries no responsibilities for this execution,” said Callamard.

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Jamal Khashoggi, 58-year-old journalist, a US-based columnist for the Washington Post and prominent critic of Prince Mohammed, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017. He was a citizen of the USA, with bonhomie with many Trump administration officials. He had a huge twitter following.

Khashoggi incriminated Saudi of being complicit in aggravating humanitarian crisis going in Yemen, he also spoke vocally about sanctions against Canada for speaking on behalf of jailed activist like Raif Badawi along with many scathing comments.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, to obtain papers he needed to marry his fiancee Hatice Cengiz from where he suspiciously disappeared. According to reports, he was assassinated by Saudi government officials, inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. His fiancee was waiting outside the consulate when he was being killed.

Initially, Saudi authorities had strongly denied the allegation. However, subsequently, the investigators concluded that Khashoggi was forcibly restrained after a struggle and injected with a large amount of a drug, which resulted in an overdose that led to his death.

Saudi Arabia’s deputy public prosecutor, Shalaan, maintained that his body was then dismembered and handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the consulate.

Turkey had provided USA classified intelligence information which allegedly proved that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi authorities. Central Intelligence Agency of the USA had backed Turkey’s allegations and contradicted Saudi’s claim that murder was spontaneous and not pre-meditated. CIA also added that crown prince himself was involved in the murder and privy of the events.

In January 2019, the UN’s human rights office tasked Callamard with establishing “the nature and extent of responsibilities states and individuals for the killing”.

Though the senior Saudi officials insisted that Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue” operation, the Callamard’s report said Khashoggi was “brutally slain” inside the consulate that day and further concluded that it was “an extrajudicial killing for which the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible”.

“From the perspective of international human rights law, state responsibility is not a question of, for example, which of the state officials ordered Mr Khashoggi’s death; whether one or more ordered a kidnapping that was botched and then became an accidental killing; or whether the officers acted on their own initiative or ultra vires [beyond their authority],” the report notes.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s ties with Saudi Arabia have come under strain since Khashoggi has been brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which tarnished the international reputation of the crown prince.

Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, making a veiled attack on Turkey warned against “exploiting” the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains.

“The death of Jamal Khashoggi is a very painful crime,” Prince Mohammed told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published Sunday, and without directly naming Turkey he added, “any party exploiting the case politically should stop doing so, and present evidence to the (Saudi) court, which will contribute to achieving justice.”

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