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A special UN investigator says Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi because there is "credible evidence" that he and other senior officials in the kingdom were responsible.
Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, conducted a five-month inquiry into Khashoggi's death last autumn at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Her resulting report, released today, found that "Khashoggi has been subjected to a deliberately negotiated executive, an out-of-court death for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law".
Callamard's report says the mission to "perform Khashoggi" required significant coordination, resources and finances. It adds that every expert consulted for the report found that "unthinkable that an operation of this scale could be carried out without the crown prince being aware that any kind of mission of criminal character to Khashoggi was launched."
Western intelligence officials, including in the United States, have already considered that the Crown Prince was involved in Khashoggi's death, but this report is from an independent investigator. The Crown Prince, who is also known as MBS, has several times denied his commitment.
The Kingdom's Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, tweeted that there is nothing new in the results. "The report contains clear contradictions and unfounded claims that challenge their credibility," Jubeir said.
The report sets out circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's killing, including the names and movements of the 15-member nation that was sent from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul. Callamard had access to Turkish intelligence for some recordings of the Saudi consulate. She and her Arabic translators listened to about 45 minutes of sound, but she believes that Turkish intelligence has about seven hours of recordings. Callamard and her translators did not get transcripts, they had to make notes.
The conversations on the recordings are affirmative. Just before Khashoggi arrives at the Consulate on October 2, 2018, two members of the hit team, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence officer and Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, a forensic physician, discuss how to throw away the body. The report says:
"At 13:02, inside the consulate, Mr Mutreb and Dr. Tubaigy had a call just minutes before Mr. Khashoggi came in. Mr Mutreb asked if it could be put the trunk of a bag?"
"Dr. Tubaigy replied " No. Too heavy. " He expressed hope that it would be easy . Relationships will be separated. It's no problem. The body is heavy. The first time I cut the ground. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be completed. We will wrap each of them. "Leather bags." It was referred to cutting skin. Dr. Tubaigny also expressed concern: "My directors are not aware of what I am doing. There is no one to protect me."
"At the end of the call, Mr. Mutreb asked whether " the victim animal " At 13:13, a voice & # 39; he has come. "In these recordings, held by the Special Rapporteur, the name of the Kashoggia was not mentioned. "
The recordings also describe the last moments in Khashoggi's life, according to the report:
" In the recordings, sounds of a fight can be heard during which the following statements could also be heard: " Sleep he?" "He lifts his head." & # 39; Continue pressing. & # 39; "Press here, don't remove your hand, press it." "
Callamard says that judgments of the intelligence officials in Turkey and other countries suggest that Khashoggi could have been injected with sedatives and then suffocated with a plastic bag.
" Sound of motion and heavy mortgages could be heard in the rest of the recordings. The sound of plastic plates (covers) could also be heard. Turkish Intelligence concluded that these came after Mr Khashoggi's death while the Saudi officials shattered their body. The intelligence assessment identified the sound of a saw at 13:39. The Special Rapporteur and her delegation could not cope with the sources of the sounds they heard. "
Eleven suspects in Khashoggi's death are on trial in Saudi Arabia; Five people are facing the death penalty. Callamard in his report claims that the kingdom is abolishing the trial and saying it does not meet international standards.
Callamard lists several recommendations at the end of his report, among other things, calls on the FBI to conduct an investigation into Khashoggi's death if it has not already done so. She also recommends an international investigation.
That study, she says to the NPR, should focus on "individual criminal debts ".