Slain dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (File photo)
Slain dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (File photo)

UN investigation blames Saudi Arabia for 'extrajudicial killing' of Jamal Khashoggi

ANI | Updated: Jun 19, 2019 17:07 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], June 19 (ANI): An independent investigation led by a United Nations special rapporteur has held Saudi Arabia responsible for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's "extrajudicial killing" under the international law.
The much-anticipated report, released by UN extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard on Wednesday after concluding the first independent investigation into Khashoggi's death, has revealed that the late Saudi Arabian journalist was the victim of a "deliberate, premeditated execution," CNN reported.
Khashoggi, a prominent writer, and former Washington Post columnist, died after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
While Riyadh initially denied any knowledge of the incident, Saudi officials later claimed that a group of rogue operators, many of whom belong to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle, were responsible for the journalist's death.
The Saudi attorney general later confirmed that Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder.
However, the special rapporteur does not make any conclusions over the role of the Saudi Crown Prince and King in the murder case.
Instead, Callamard says that there is "credible evidence meriting further investigation by a proper authority" as to whether the "threshold of criminal responsibility has been met."
She added that Khashoggi was "fully aware of the powers held by the Crown Prince" and had expressed fears about what would happen to him if he returned to the Kingdom.
Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi. US officials, meanwhile, have said such a mission -- including 15 men sent from Riyadh -- could not have been carried out without the authorisation of bin Salman.
According to the special report, which cites evidence from Turkish and other intelligence agencies, after entering the consulate, Khashoggi was injected with a sedative and then his head put inside a plastic bag and suffocated.
It also quotes an audio recording from inside the Consulate, in which Khashoggi is heard being told he will be taken to Saudi Arabia.
It has previously been reported that after Khashoggi was killed his body was dismembered and removed from the premises of the Consulate in separate bags that have not been found yet.
The special rapporteur further found credible evidence pointing to the crime scenes having been "thoroughly, even forensically, cleaned" -- indicating that the Saudi investigation was "not conducted in good faith and that it may amount to obstructing justice."
Last year, US President Donald Trump had made it clear that Washington would not change relations with Riyadh against the rising condemnation of Saudi Arabia and vowed support for the Crown Prince.
President Trump had instead emphasised the importance of the United States' strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia in the Middle-East. (ANI)