UN investigator urges Saudi Arabia to open Khashoggi murder trial

Jamal Khashoggi (Photo Credit: The Independent)
Jamal Khashoggi (Photo Credit: The Independent)

Saudi Arabia’s hearings for 11 suspects accused in the murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, fall short of international standards and should be open to the public and trial observers, a UN human rights official said on Thursday.

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, who leads an international inquiry into the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, in a statement in Geneva, called on the kingdom to reveal the defendants’ names and the fate of 10 others initially arrested.

“The Government of Saudi Arabia is grievously mistaken if it believes that these proceedings, as currently constituted, will satisfy the international community, either in terms of procedural fairness under international standards or in terms of the validity of their conclusions,” she said.

The Saudi public prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects in November, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of ordering and committing the crime.

The CIA and some Western countries believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.

Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed fired over the killing, is not among the 11 suspects on trial at hearings in Riyadh in spite Saudi pledges to bring those responsible to justice, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Callamard, referring to diplomats from world powers on the UN Security Council, who have attended some of the four hearings thus far warned: “They risk being participants in a potential miscarriage of justice, possibly complicit should it be shown that the trials are marred by violations of human rights law,’’ Callamard.

(Reuters/NAN)

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