June 19, 2019
FILE – In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. An independent U.N. human rights expert investigating the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is recommending an investigation into the possible role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing “credible evidence.” (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
By Jamey Keaten and Aya Batrawy | The Associated Press
GENEVA – An independent U.N. report into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Wednesday there is “credible evidence” to warrant further investigation into the possible role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and suggested sanctions on his personal assets.
The scathing probe is likely to further harden opinion against the crown prince in Washington and other Western capitals, where critics say an operation of this magnitude would have required the powerful prince’s knowledge.
Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, said responsibility for Khashoggi’s killing falls on Saudi Arabia.
“There has been no demonstration that the state itself of Saudi Arabia has accepted its responsibility for the killing,” she told reporters after the release of her 101-page report.
Khashoggi was killed, and believed to have been dismembered, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi agents on Oct. 2. His remains have never been found.
The 33-year-old Saudi prince, who continues to have the support of his father, King Salman, denies any involvement in the killing. President Donald Trump has defended U.S.-Saudi ties in the face of international outcry over the slaying.
Saudi Arabia initially offered multiple shifting accounts about his disappearance, but as pressure mounted the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed by rogue officials in a brawl inside their Istanbul consulate.
But the U.N. probe said it is hard to accept the theory that the leader of a 15-man Saudi team sent to the consulate at the time of Khashoggi’s visit had planned the murder without any authorization from superiors in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The presence of a pathologist on the Saudi team was relevant to determining the original intent of the operation, she said, and added that an investigation of the crown prince is needed because the people directly implicated in the murder reported to him.
The U.N. investigation had “determined that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s,” Callamard said.