Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

U.N: Evidence suggests Saudi Crown Prince is liable for Khashoggi murder

U.N: Evidence suggests Saudi Crown Prince is liable for Khashoggi murder

Wednesday's report also found that there was evidence that "Saudi Arabia deliberately used consular immunity to stall Turkey's investigations until the crime scene could be thoroughly cleaned".

"It is the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur that Mr Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under worldwide human rights law".

"The Saudi judiciary is the sole party qualified to deal with the Khashoggi case and works with full independence", he added.

Callamard, an independent human rights expert who does not speak for the United Nations but reports her findings to it, called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to initiate an worldwide criminal investigation into the case. "The trial underway in Saudi Arabia will not deliver credible accountability", she wrote. A British petrochemicals company laid out a US$2 billion investment to build three plants in the kingdom.

The report says the rest of the recordings contain sounds of movement, heavy panting, and plastic sheets being wrapped, which Turkish intelligence concluded came after Khashoggi's death as Saudi officials dismembered his body. But the focus has lingered over the man who is next in line to become its king.

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".

She said people directly implicated in the murder reported to him.

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". His spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Guterres does not have the authority to do so without a mandate from an inter-governmental body.

The CIA has concluded that bin Salman very likely ordered the murder himself, based in part on the same understanding of his power over all actions taken by the Saudi security apparatus which Callamard referenced.

An investigation should look into how much the crown prince knew, whether he had a direct or indirect role, and whether he could have stopped the killing, she said.

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Khashoggi, a US-based writer who annoyed the prince through critical columns in The Washington Post, was strangled to death and dismembered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to handle wedding paperwork, according to USA and Turkish officials.

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.

Brian Hook, who is in charge of pushing President Donald Trump's hawkish line on Iran, was asked about United States support of Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia as he testified before Congress.

At 1.33pm, Khashoggi could be heard saying: "There is a towel here".

Eleven people are on trial in Saudi Arabia in largely secret proceedings, and five could face the death penalty. Saudi Arabia's own investigation said the agents were only given orders by two senior officials to forcibly bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but not to kill him.

In fact, it was revealed earlier this month that the Trump administration twice approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's killing.

As global pressure mounted, the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed by rogue officials in a brawl inside their consulate.

The 101-pages long United Nations report was issued on Wednesday, and it recounts details of Khashoggi's murder, using claimed recordings of conversations from inside the Istanbul consulate.

Mr Khashoggi wrote critically of Prince Mohammed in columns for The Washington Post before he was killed.

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