’Credible Evidence’ Links MBS to Khashoggi Extrajudicial Execution - UN
By Staff, Agencies
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a UN rights expert concluded, citing "credible evidence".
UN extrajudicial executions investigator, Agnes Callamard, said Khashoggi's killing "constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible".
According to al-Jazeera Diplomatic Editor James Bays, the report “completely blows away the official Saudi cover story that this was a botched plan to seize Khashoggi and take him back to Saudi Arabia."
However, there was no immediate reaction from Riyadh which was sent the 100-page report in advance.
UN report on Khashoggi's murder provided that Saudi Arabia must apologize to Turkish gov't for "abuse of diplomatic privileges".
Callamard, who has led an international inquiry into Khashoggi's killing last October, confirmed earlier findings after a visit to Turkey this year that the evidence pointed to a brutal crime "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi officials.
Khashoggi's remains have not been found but Callamard has said that she and her team of forensic and legal experts had access to a part of "chilling and gruesome audio materials" of his death obtained by the Turkish intelligence agency.
Matthew Bryza, a former US ambassador and a non-resident senior fellow at the US-based Atlantic Council think-tank, said the findings made clear Khashoggi's killing was "a premeditated murder, planned carefully".
"The Saudi government must come up with an explanation for who ordered this, who's responsible and where the body is," Bryza said from Istanbul.
The CIA and some Western countries reportedly believe bin Salman, also known as MBS, ordered the operation to kill Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince's policies and Washington Post columnist.
Saudi officials denied these suspicions.
Khashoggi's killing by a team of Saudi operatives on October 2 provoked widespread revulsion and marred the image of the crown prince, who was previously lauded for advancing changes in the conservative kingdom including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive.
Callamard had earlier denounced the lack of transparency at the kingdom's secretive hearings for 11 suspects accused in the murder.
She called on Saudi authorities to reveal the defendants' names, the charges against them and the fate of 10 others initially arrested.
Callamard is due to present it on June 26 to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 member states include Saudi Arabia.