It has long been clear that the brutal murder and dismemberment in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was working for the Washington Post had to have been ordered at the very highest levels of the Saudi government. That crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was likely to have been involved was also apparent though he denied it and placed the blame on that familiar scapegoat ‘rogue elements’. The amount of high-level support that these murderers had in carrying out this crime makes that claim laughable. The only purpose of that claim was to provide Donald Trump and his family with a fig leaf to not disassociate themselves from bin Salman.
Further evidence of Saudi government and bin Salman nvolvement came today in a report issued by Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur, who looked at the evidence, including recordings of what happened in the consulate, and says the death of the journalist was “an international crime”.
Its main findings include:
- There is credible evidence, warranting further investigation, of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s.
- Khashoggi’s death was an extrajudicial killing. His attempted kidnapping would constitute a violation under international human rights law … and may constitute an act of torture under the terms of the convention against torture.
- The investigations conducted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey failed to meet international standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths.
- The Saudi investigation into the murder was not conducted in good faith, and might amount to obstructing justice.
The Saudi government has placed some people on trial as a way to deflect attention away from the involvement of high-level officials. This is what the UN report says about that.
While some suspects are facing trial in Saudi Arabia, the report says the process has been secretive and should be stopped.
It also addresses whether the crown prince and his trusted aide, Saud al-Qahtani, should face further scrutiny. Qahtani has repeatedly been described as the mastermind of the plot to kill Khashoggi and was initially among the suspects identified by Saudi Arabia.
But the UN report says he has not been criminally charged, unlike some others.
While the special rapporteur says “no conclusion is made as to guilt” on either Qahtani or the crown prince, she adds: “There is credible evidence meriting further investigation, by a proper authority, as to whether the threshold of criminal responsibility has been met.”
The report adds: “Mr Khashoggi’s execution is emblematic of a global pattern of targeted killing of, and threats against, journalists and media workers that is regularly denounced by states, UN agencies, special procedures, and by numerous international and national human rights organisations.”
It is high time that bin Salman should be treated as an international terrorist and a pariah and that he is stripped of his bogus veneer as a reformer that was once so eagerly embraced by the US media and the pro-war and pro-business elites.