Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Khashoggi murder 'planned and perpetrated' by Saudi officials, United Nations expert finds

Khashoggi murder 'planned and perpetrated' by Saudi officials, United Nations expert finds

The New York Times, citing officials who had seen USA intelligence, said that Prince Mohammed had warned in an intercepted conversation to an aide in 2017 that he would go after Khashoggi "with a bullet" if he did not return to Saudi Arabia from the United States.

Delayed access to the consulate and residence and "clean-up of the crimes scenes", also severely limited the potential for the Turkish criminal forensic investigation to "produce telling evidence", according to Ms Callamard.

In a preliminary report, Callamard said that she had heard "parts of the chilling and gruesome audio material obtained and retained by the Turkish intelligence agency".

Callamard's final report will be delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in June.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says if Khashoggi could not be enticed to return to Saudi Arabia, then he should be brought back by force and if neither worked, he would go after Khashoggi "with a bullet".

The United States has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials for their role in the journalist's death, but U.S. President Donald Trump has said he stands by the crown prince.

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

"Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia", Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur for extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in statement.

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The crown prince was expressing frustration at Khashoggi's criticism of the Saudi government and reluctance to return to his native country from the United States, where he had been living in self-imposed exile, the Times reported, citing current and former US and foreign officials with knowledge of intelligence reports.

The crown prince's comments to a top aide in 2017 were made well before Khashoggi was killed last October in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Times reported, citing current and former US and foreign officials knowledgeable about intelligence reports.

Riyadh, which initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance before offering contradictory explanations, has steadfastly insisted the prince was not involved in the killing. His body has yet to be found.

"It has become a one-man rule", Khashoggi told FRANCE 24 in an interview previous year.

"It is also raising a number of global implications which demand the urgent attention of the worldwide community, including the United Nations".

Ms Callamard was reporting on a week-long mission with her team of three experts to Turkey.

In the report, the rapporteur will present a series of recommendations, which are not binding. The attorney-general is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

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