Saudi Arabia responsible for Khashoggi's 'brutal' murder, United Nations preliminary report says

08 February, 2019, 11:25 | Author: Carlos George
  • Saudis 'seriously undermined' Turkey's Khashoggi inquiry, says UN expert

Saudi Arabia initially denied having anything to do with Khashoggi's death, but later suggested that he died during an accidental " fistfight" with officials inside the building.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe Crown Prince Mohammed ordered Mr Khashoggi's killing, but Donald Trump has rejected the claim.

The journalist had chose to leave his native Saudi Arabia for the United States in September 2017, but was lured to the embassy in Istanbul on in October 2018 to collect papers for his upcoming marriage. It reportedly read that prior to his conversation with Aldakhil, the Saudi crown prince had complained to his other adviser, Saud Qahtani, about Khashoggi's growing influence as his materials were undermining the prince's image of a reformer.

"Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows (a) prima facie case that Mr Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia", Agnes Callamard said at the end of a visit to Turkey, according to a United Nations statement.

Qahtani, Prince Mohammed's closest adviser, was sacked in the wake of Khashoggi's murder.

The outlet added that the conversation took place the same month as Khashoggi began writing his articles, criticizing the Saudi authorities, for The Washington Post.

Callamard also said she asked for an official visit to Saudi Arabia and said she had "major concerns" about the fairness of the legal process for the 11 people facing trial for the journalist's murder.

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Central Intelligence Agency officials ruled in November that Khashoggi's killing was likely ordered by bin Salman himself, however this report is the most direct evidence that ties the crown prince to the assassination.

"While Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of the crown prince - in multiple ways - has shown disrespect for the relationship and made him, in my view, beyond toxic", Graham said.

Meanwhile, UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard presented preliminary findings on Thursday saying that Khashoggi's murder was the effect of a plan hatched by officials of the Kingdom.

A Saudi public prosecutor's spokesman said late previous year that 21 Saudis had been taken into custody over the case, 11 of whom had been indicted and referred to trial.

"We will continue to consult with the Congress and work to hold accountable those who are responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's killing", Palladino told reporters, declining to say if more action would be forthcoming.

Al Jazeera reported that Callamard had heard recordings of Khashoggi's last moments.

There was no immediate comment from the CIA and the National Security Agency on the NYT report.

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