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There is credible evidence that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the torture and execution of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year, a U.N. investigator has found.
In her 101-page report, U.N. investigator Agnes Callamard says the journalist was the victim of “a deliberate, premeditated execution.” She calls on the U.N. or Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “demand” a follow-up criminal investigation into the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.
Callamard also highlighted the role played by Saud Alqahtani, a senior adviser to the Saudi royal court, who has not been charged. In total, Callamard identifies 15 suspects by name.
“No conclusion is made as to guilt,” Callamard said. “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 added that there was “no reason why sanctions should not be applied against the Crown Prince and his personal assets” noting that the U.S, the U.K. Germany, France and the EU have already placed sanctions on the other suspects.
Callamard was given access to a 45-minute audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate, and she details, minute by minute, the events leading up to and including Khashoggi’s death and subsequent dismemberment.
However, Callamard said she was limited in her assessment of what happened inside the consulate, as she was not given access to the longer recordings that Turkish investigators have referenced.
She was also not allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia during her investigation or question any of those involved. Khashoggi’s remains have never been recovered.
Riyadh initially denied any link to the disappearance and killing of Khashoggi, then claimed that a rogue group of Saudi officials had traveled to Istanbul and murdered the journalist. There are currently 11 people on trial in Saudi Arabia in largely secret proceedings, with five of them facing a possible death penalty.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and his father, King Salman, continue to claim they knew nothing about the killing, but U.S. officials have concluded that such an operation could not have happened without their approval.
In April, it was revealed that the Saudi regime was paying Khashoggi’s children to remain silent about the murder of their father.
Despite widespread condemnation of the kingdom’s rulers for their roles in Khashoggi’s death, President Donald Trump and his administration have failed to directly condemn Riyadh. Asked about the crown prince’s involvement a month after the killing, Trump told the press, “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.”
Instead, defying Congress, Trump has attempted to force through an $8 billion deal to sell arms to the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Cover: In this Dec. 15, 2014, file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)