UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, says Saudi Arabia showed ‘unacceptable lack of respect’ to victims.
GENEVA: A UN human rights expert on Thursday condemned a Saudi court’s death sentences over the 2018 killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul following a secretive trial which she called the “antithesis of justice.”
“The executioners were found guilty and sentenced to death. Opposed to the death sentence, this is a first shock to me,” Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, said in a statement.
Callamard went on saying: “However, those who ordered the executions not only walk free but have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. This is the second shock.”
Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.
The UN expert described the legal process for the Khashoggi murder as “the antithesis of justice and an unacceptable lack of respect to the victims.”
She said that under the international human rights law, Khashoggi’s killing was an extrajudicial execution for which Saudi Arabia should be held responsible.
“This case demands an investigation into the chain of command to identify the masterminds, as well as those who incited, allowed, or turned a blind eye to the murder, such as the Crown Prince,” said Callamard.
She noted that the trial failed to consider the responsibilities of the state.
“The 18 Saudi officials, present on their own in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul for more than 10 days, cleaned up the crime scene. This is obstruction of justice and a violation of the Minnesota Protocol for the investigation of arbitrary killings,” said the UN expert.
Callimard also said that the presence of a forensic doctor in the official killing team at least 24 hours before the crime, and discussing the dismemberment of Khashoggi two hours before it occurred “also clearly indicates the killing was planned.”
The judge, she said, engaged in clear violation of international law by concluding that there was no intent in the killing, but sentenced the defendants to the death penalty.
She also noted that the defendants had repeatedly stated during the hearings that they were obeying orders.
Source: Anadolu Agency