A senior UN official says Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is a prime suspect in the murder of well-known Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul back in October 2018.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution Agnes Callamard said MBS is considered the chief suspect in terms of ordering and inciting the killing.
“Look, I think he is a prime suspect in terms of determining who ordered or who incited the killing. He is in the picture,” Callamard said.
She noted that circumstantial evidence suggests that a crime of that nature could not have taken place without the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.
“I believe that according to the information that was provided more than a year ago, the CIA may have this information,” the distinguished human rights lawyer pointed out.
She noted that Turkey’s trial of nearly two dozen Saudi nationals over the killing of Khashoggi is being held “in absentia” because everyone knows that the Riyadh regime will not allow the defendants to appear at the court.
“Nevertheless, I think it is important. I want to note that the defendants are represented, that they have been assigned state-assigned lawyers,” Callamard said.
On July 3, the main court in Caglayan district of Turkey’s most populous city of Istanbul opened a trial in absentia of 20 Saudi nationals indicted for the murder of the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist.
His Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz told the court that Khashoggi had been lured to his death through “a great betrayal and deception,” and asked that all people responsible for his killing be brought to justice.
Khashoggi, who fled Saudi Arabia in September 2017 and went into self-imposed exile in the US, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, after he entered the premises to obtain paperwork for his planned marriage.
Turkish officials say his body was dismembered by the killers and his remains are yet to be found.