06/20/2019, 11.24
UN - TURKEY - SAUDITA ARABIA
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Khashoggi murder: UN report blames bin Salman. Saudi denial, Turkey’s praise

Team of experts publish findings of  "credible clues" that lead to the highest spheres in Riyadh. It was a "deliberate and premeditated execution". Saudi minister speaks of "false accusations" and threatens legal action. For Ankara it confirms what emerged from the internal investigations. The US is asking for further investigations, but they defend the crown prince.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Saudi Arabia has reacted to the publication yesterday of the UN report into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi  claiming it has "clear contradictions" and is full of "groundless accusations ", which "undermine its credibility".

Ankara instead considers it the proof of involvement of the highest levels of the Wahhabi kingdom and calls on the international community to punish the guilty.

Washington, Riyadh’s ally, asks the Saudis to "do more" to punish those responsible, without mentioning the name of the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (mbs).

There are several - and conflicting - reactions  the findings of the independent inquiry into the murder of Khashoggi a critical voice of the leadership of Riyadh. He was killed last October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and the reports investigations lead to the number two of the Saudi kingdom.

According to the UN team of experts, led by special rapporteur Agnes Callamard,  "credible clues" have emerged that link Mbs and senior Saudi officials to the death of the journalist. The 100-page document describes the Khashoggi murder, as an "international crime" and that Saudi Arabia is "responsible" "based on international human rights laws". Moreover it described the killing as a "deliberate and premeditated execution ".

Analyzing the recording of the conversations that took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where the murder took place, the report narrates the last moments of the journalist's life and the exchange of information between the members of the commando who executed him.

The analyst, the survey states, suggests that "Khashoggi may have been sedated" and then "suffocated with a plastic bag". His body was then dismembered and made to disappear.

For the United Nations panel it is an "extrajudicial murder" and the investigations carried out so far by Saudi Arabia and Turkey "have not respected international standards". In the case of Riyadh, moreover, there is the hypothesis of attempting to  "hinder justice; to clarify the matter, the experts conclude, "further investigations are needed into the individual responsibilities of Saudi high-level officials, including the crown prince" bin Salman.

Commenting on the "non-binding" report, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir questions its neutrality and speaks of "false accusations" stemming from "preconceived ideas and positions" raised in recent months "by the press and international media" .

He does not exclude a legal action against a document that defames the country and its highest authorities and finally recalls that Riyadh has already started a trial against those he considers the perpetrators of the murder, who would have acted on personal initiative ignoring their orders.

The judgment on the relationship between Turkey and the foreign minister urges the international community to follow up the indications contained in the document. In an official statement, those responsible for Ankara's foreign policy stress that it "confirms" the data that emerged from the Turkish investigation, which speaks of a "premeditated" act ordered by Riyadh's leaders in "violations of international law and principles".

The United States invites Saudi Arabia to do more to shed light on the death of the dissident journalist, but they are careful not to make accusations against the crown prince Mbs, one of the closest allies in the Middle East.

 "Saudi investigators - said presidential adviser Brian Hook - have taken important steps [...] but we need more effort".

For many parliamentarians - Democrats and Republicans - the murder represents a turning point in relations with Riyadh, and they attack Donald Trump's choice to continue considering Mbs a privileged partner.

In fact today, the Senate is expected to vote on a measure, in open contrast to the White House, which intends to  conclude a contract for the sale of arms to Riyadh worth 8 billion dollars.

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