UN Eyes Probe of Saudi Prince in Death 06/19 06:16
GENEVA (AP) -- An independent U.N. human rights expert investigating the
killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday recommended an
investigation into the possible role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
citing "credible evidence."
The 101-page report released by Agnes Callamard into the October killing of
Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul calls on U.N. bodies or
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "demand" a follow-up criminal
Callamard noted the "extreme sensitivity" of considering the criminal
responsibility of the crown prince, as well as Saud Alqahtani, a senior adviser
to the Saudi royal court who has not been charged.
"No conclusion is made as to guilt," she wrote of the two men. "The only
conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further
investigation, by a proper authority, as to whether the threshold of criminal
responsibility has been met."
She wrote that there was "no reason why sanctions should not be applied
against the Crown Prince and his personal assets" --- noting that sanctions
regimes have been put in place in the past even before guilt was determined.
But she played down the focus on a single person, writing: "The search for
justice and accountability is not singularly dependent on finding a 'smoking
gun' or the person holding it."
She wrote that her focus was mainly on identifying those who may have failed
in or abused their positions of authority.
Eleven people are on trial in Saudi Arabia in largely secret proceedings,
and five could face the death penalty.
Callamard wrote that she obtained access to a recording of the killing on
Oct. 2. She said she had received information about a "financial package"
offered to Khashoggi's children, "but it is questionable whether such package
amounts to compensation under international human rights law."
Callamard noted limitations on her inquiry, which began in January. She
received no response to her request to travel to Saudi Arabia. She wrote that
she had received only a total of 45 minutes of tapes recorded within the
consulate around the time of the killing, while Turkish intelligence had
referenced some 7 hours of recordings.
The report offers gruesome, nearly minute-by-minute accounting of the events
surrounding the killing, and cites sounds of a buzzing saw that could have been
used to dismember Khashoggi's body.
She also identified by name 15 suspects in the case.
The U.S. State Department has publicly designated 16 people for their roles
in the killing of Khashoggi. Many U.S. lawmakers have criticized President
Donald Trump for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the journalist's killing.