The Saudi state is responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and cannot “wash its hands” of responsibility, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution Agnes Callamard said at the UN headquarters in New York City on Thursday.
“It is not quite possible for the state to wash its hands from the behavior of those actors,” Callamard told reporters. “They were representing the state when they acted as they acted.”
On October 2, Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in order to obtain documents for his marriage. Saudi Arabia initially denied reports he had been abducted or murdered in the consulate, but on October 19, Riyadh admitted he had been killed during a fight inside the diplomatic facility.
“Even Saudi Arabia has admitted that the crime was premeditated … From where I sit, this bears all the hallmark of extrajudicial executions. Until I am proven otherwise I must assume that this was the case. It is up to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to prove that it was not,” Callamard said.
Callamard said she had concluded that the Saudi government officials who orchestrated Khashoggi’s killing were high enough in position to represent the state and that she had no information that they had acted in a completely rogue fashion.
Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Arabian Prosecutor General Saud Mujib said the murder of Khashoggi, a US resident and Saudi Arabia critic, was premeditated.