A United Nations-led inquiry into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Thursday that evidence pointed to a brutal crime “planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia”.
Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that Saudi officials had “seriously undermined” and delayed Turkey’s efforts to investigate the crime scene at its Istanbul consulate in October. She plans to present a final report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in June.
“Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows prima 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,” Callamard said in a statement.
Reporting on a week-long mission with her team of three experts to Turkey, she said that “woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation.”
Callamard said that they had had access to part of “chilling and gruesome audio material” of the Washington Post journalist’s death obtained by the Turkish intelligence agency. She had “major concerns” about the fairness of proceedings for 11 Saudis facing trial in the kingdom and had sought a visit there.
She also called for anyone with further knowledge or intelligence into the murder to share it ahead of her June report, which will make recommendations on accountability.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.