'Credible evidence' Saudi crown prince behind Jamal Khashoggi murder, United Nations says

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Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, said responsibility for Khashoggi's killing falls on Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday that the United Nations report regarding Jamal Khashoggi's murder "has clear contradictions and baseless accusations, which hurt its credibility".

Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the prince and a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018, where he went to receive papers ahead of his wedding.

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 report identified by name the 15 people she said were part of the mission to kill Khashoggi and suggested that many of them were not on the list of 11 unnamed suspects facing a closed-door trial over the murder.

I think it is important to understand that the responsibility of high-level officials, such as the crown prince, are not exclusively derived from them or him ordering the crime.

On top of the 101-page report's (pdf) conclusion that the Saudi kingdom is responsible for the killing, Callamard's findings also provided "chilling" new details of the final moments leading to Khashoggi's murder previous year. At 13:13, a voice said "he has arrived.' In these recordings heard by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Khashoggi's name was not mentioned".

At the end of the exchange with Tubaigy, Mutreb asks if "the sacrificial lamb" has arrived.

Prof. Callamard lists numerous laws broken by the Saudi government, among them global human rights law.

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"Mr. Khashoggi's killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible", Callamard's report said. And she flagged Saudi Arabia's track record with human rights violations in the past, saying "there was no way the leaders of that state including the crown prince were not aware of those violations".

Callamard, an academic and rights advocate, noted limitations on her inquiry, which began in January. The report concluded that any campaign against dissidents and political opponents would not be possible without the crown prince's "agreement of acquiescence". It also recommends that the UN Secretary General establish a tribunal into his killing, the FBI conduct its own investigation, and countries ban the export and sale of surveillance tools to Saudi Arabia.

Eleven suspects in Khashoggi's killing are on trial in Saudi Arabia; five people face the death penalty.

"Joints will be separated", Tubaigy said, according to the report.

The Trump administration, however, has fostered the longstanding, deep US ties with Saudi Arabia and refused to pin the blame for the killing on bin Salman or any other member of the royal family thus far. However, Callamard was not able to visit Saudi Arabia and said officials never responded to her petitions to visit the country.

For her investigation, Ms Callamard said that, among other things, she had viewed CCTV footage from inside the consulate of the killing itself. Among them are Saudi Arabia issuing a public apology for Mr. Khashoggi's death and funding programs to support freedom of expression and a free press in the Arab Gulf region.

"Failure to do so sends the message that journalists can be murdered with impunity".

Callamard said that states should invoke universal jurisdiction in the case.

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