Thursday, 22 August, 2019

United Nations report: Saudi government responsible for Khashoggi death

Saudi Arabia crown prince liable for journalist Khashoggi’s killing Credible evidence Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman liable for Khashoggi's murder, says UN report
Patty Aguilar | 20 June, 2019, 03:54

The report offers gruesome, almost minute-by-minute accounting of the events surrounding the killing, and cites sounds of a buzzing saw that could have been used to dismember Mr Khashoggi's body. Shortly before Khashoggi arrives at the consulate on October 2, 2018, two members of the hit team, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence officer, and Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, a forensic doctor, discuss how to dispose of the body.

"In view of my concerns regarding the fairness of the trial of the 11 suspects in Saudi Arabia, I call for the suspension of the trial", she said in the report.

"No. Too heavy", responded Salah al-Tubaigy, an Interior Ministry forensics doctor who would dismember and dispose of the body, according to the report.

The report comes as damage to the crown prince's reputation had begun to fade, with countries and companies resuming business with the uber-wealthy kingdom. "We will wrap each of them", he said, also referencing "Leather bags", according to the United Nations report.

Mutreb tells Khashoggi to send his son a mobile text message. But UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres could only do so with a mandate from "a competent intergovernmental body". "Hurry up. Help us so that we can help you because at the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia and if you don't have us you know what will happen at the end; let this issue find a good end".

Callamard suggests, among a list of suggested symbolic responses to Khashoggi's murder, that Turkey or the city of Istanbul erect a Khashoggi memorial, standing for press freedom, right in front of the Saudi consulate where he was killed.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the prince and sometime Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate on 2 October, 2018, where he was due to receive travel papers ahead of his wedding. In recent weeks, the Trump administration has tried to ram through a sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia over objections in Congress.

She also called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States - where Khashoggi was a resident - to open an investigation into the case if it has not already done so "and pursue criminal prosecutions within the United States, as appropriate". In her report, Callamard calls for the kingdom to suspend the trial, saying it doesn't meet global standards.

"Taking accountability seriously means that the Saudi Arabia government must accept State responsibility for the execution", Callamard wrote.

Targeted sanctions on Saudis linked to the killing "ought to include the Crown Prince and his personal assets overseas", the investigator stated.

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In a fresh report, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said she had "determined that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials' individual liability, including the Crown Prince's".

Ankara has for long not accepted Riyadh's claim that the murder was a domestic affair, and al-Burai argued it would use Callamard's branding of the killing as an worldwide crime to mobilise the global community to demand accountability, as well as press Saudi Arabia to reveal where Khashoggi's body was. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

The Trump administration has defended its relationship with Riyadh amid updates on the Khashoggi case, arguing the country remains a key US ally in the Middle East against Iran.

Separately, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is reviewing the executive branch's negotiations with Saudi Arabia on nuclear energy since 2009.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the operation on Saudi agents who exceeded their authority.

Khashoggi's death stirred widespread disgust and hurt the image of the prince, previously admired in the West for pushing to end the kingdom's oil dependence and easing social restrictions including by allowing women to drive. He wrote his columns after leaving Saudi Arabia to avoid being swept up in the crackdown.

She wrote that she had received only a total of 45 minutes of tapes recorded within the consulate around the time of the killing, while Turkish intelligence had referenced some seven hours of recordings.

"They will account for this and they will pay a price", Erdogan said.

She said she obtained access to a recording of the killing and had received information about a "financial package" offered to Khashoggi's children.

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