UN Rapporteur Knocks Saudi Rulings on Khashoggi Murder, Ankara Says it ‘Failed To Meet Expectations’
By Staff, Agencies
UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard Monday slammed Saudi Arabia’s court rulings in the criminal probe of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "mockery."
The public prosecutor’s office in Riyadh earlier in the day announced that five people had been sentenced to death for involvement in the killing and three others sentenced to a total of 24 years for their role in covering up the crime and violating law.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a US resident, was murdered after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 of last year on a visit to pick up paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.
"Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free, they have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial," Callamard said on Twitter. "That is the antithesis of Justice. It is a mockery."
She reiterated that the Saudi kingdom was responsible for the Khashoggi's execution under international human rights law, adding that the trial in Riyadh "at no point" considered the Kingdom's responsibilities.
Callamard also said Riyadh did not investigate the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS], adding the judge appeared to have concluded that the Khashoggi death was "an accident since there seems to be no intent".
"To suggest that on the spare of the moment, the killers decided to cut down his body is utterly ridiculous. Dismemberment requires minimum planning," she wrote.
"The presence of a forensic doctor enrolled in the official killing team at least 24 hours before the crime, and discussing dismemberment 2 hours before it actually occurred, also clearly indicates planning," said Callamard.
Relatively, the Turkish Foreign Ministry considered that the ruling falls far short of expectations.
“The ruling of the relevant court in Saudi Arabia announced today on the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi falls short of the expectations of Turkey and the international community for the clarification of all aspects of this murder and the serving of justice,” Hami Aksoy, a ministry spokesman, said in a written statement on Monday.
"The fact that important aspects such as the fate of Mr. Khashoggi’s body, the masterminds of the murder and any local collaborators remain in the dark, is a fundamental lapse of justice and violates the principle of accountability," he added.
Aksoy reiterated Ankara’s expectation of cooperation from Saudi authorities.
Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said 11 people have been put on trial in connection with the Khashoggi's killing. He said former royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani was investigated and was not charged in the killing.
Al-Shalaan said Mohammed al-Oteibi, the former consul-general in Istanbul, was also not charged and released because "he was not at the consulate at the time of the killing."
Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz was also upset and unsatisfied saying on Twitter that "Saudi announcement not acceptable ..! #justice_for_jamal."
In a report in May, Callamard's office concluded that the murder of the prominent journalist was a “deliberate, premeditated execution,” and called for MBS to be investigated.