Saudi journalist Khashoggi’s murder ‘pre-meditated execution’, UN finds

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

A United Nations special rapporteur has found that the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated.

Mr Khashoggi, 60, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul in October 2018.

In a highly anticipated report, the UN special investigator Agnes Callamard found that Mr Khashoggi was a victim of a “deliberate, pre-meditated execution” and held Saudi Arabia responsible for the “extra-judicial killing” under international law.

Mr Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post. His death has continued to stir worldwide diplomatic backlash against Saudi Arabia.

Although Saudi initially denied involvement of the killing, independent investigation later found that Saudi actors were responsible for the gruesome murder of Mr Khashoggi. The government later blamed rogue state agents for the killing.

Ms Callamard did not directly blame Saudi Crown Prince and King for the murder, but said there was “credible evidence meriting further investigation by a proper authority” to establish whether a “threshold of criminal responsibility has been met”. The report was circulated to the media on Wednesday morning.

It was not immediately clear if the Saudi government has released a response to the report.

Mr Khashoggi repeatedly expressed fears about his safety should he return to Saudi Arabia, the report further found. Findings released by the Turkish intelligence found that Mr Khashoggi was sedated before his head was pushed into a plastic bag and suffocated. An audio recording also said those who killed Mr Khashoggi threatened to take him to Saudi Arabia.

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