Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Nations rapporteur: Khashoggi murder 'perpetrated' by Saudi officials

United Nations rapporteur: Khashoggi murder 'perpetrated' by Saudi officials

Saudi officials "planned and perpetrated" the torture and killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a United Nations-led inquiry has found.

She added that "woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by global standards for investigation".

Ms. Callamard said her team had access to part of "chilling and gruesome audio material" of Mr. Khashoggi's death obtained by the Turkish intelligence agency.

The Washington Post journalist was killed in October with critics claiming Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman dispatched a death squad to kill Mr Khashoggi.

The UN official's announcement comes a day after the Saudi government contested a key element of a Central Intelligence Agency assessment that concluded that Prince Salman likely ordered the murder.

Callamard said that she had "major concerns" about the fairness of proceedings for the 11 Saudis facing trial and had sought an official visit to the kingdom.

United States lawmakers threatened Thursday to take tougher action against Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi amid a new revelation that the kingdom's powerful crown prince spoke of going after him with a "bullet".

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Saudi Arabia's crown prince told a senior aide he would go after Jamal Khashoggi "with a bullet" a year before the dissident journalist was killed inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, the New York Times reported Thursday quoting USA intelligence.

Riyadh, which initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance before offering contradictory explanations, has steadfastly insisted the prince was not involved in the killing. The prosecutor said authorities were seeking the death penalty for five of them.

The New York Times published a bombshell report Thursday evening that reports intercepted communications show that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a top aide in 2017 that he would use a "bullet" on Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was politically assassinated by Saudi intelligence officials in 2018.

Callamard said her team were unable to perform a "thorough review" of this material and she did not have the chance to authenticate the recording independently. "It is also raising a number of worldwide implications which demand the urgent attention of the global community including the United Nations", she said.

Khashoggi, 59, a US-based Washington Post columnist, was murdered October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to collect documents for his planned wedding.

Callamard's final report, to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June, will make a range of recommendations, including for the objective of formal criminal accountability, and their bases in global law.

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