UN concludes Khashoggi murder was 'planned and perpetrated' by Riyadh
The UN investigation, hampered by the Saudis, speaks of a brutal crime committed by agents of the kingdom, under the mandate of highest office. Turkey defines Riyadh's "total lack of transparency" as "worrying". A year ago threats of the Crown Prince against the dissident journalist. US lawmakers are demanding sanctions.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) - In the last 24 hours the international pressure on the leaders of Saudi Arabia has been strengthened, suspected of having played an active role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed last October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
This morning a close associate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the "complete lack of transparency" of Saudi officials on the matter "worrying". This approach, adds Fahrettin Altun, causes the country to lose "credibility".
" Over the past four months, the Saudi authorities have been less than forthcoming in their dealings with their Turkish counterparts and the international community,” Altun said in a written statement to Reuters. “Saudi authorities must extradite Mr. Khashoggi’s killers to Turkey, where they committed a premeditated murder, as proof of their willingness to serve the cause of justice.”
In spite of the appeals, Saudi Arabia repeatedly rejected extradition requests against 11 suspects, five of whom have already been sentenced to death in the first instance in the context of summary trials. According to the Wahhabi kingdom, the failure of the negotiations to convince the dissident journalist to return home are behind the killing. A discussion erupted and then degenerated into the murder.
In fact, analysts and international experts suspect that the murder [the body of the journalist has never been found because the body was dismembered, ed] was made on the orders of the Crown Prince and number two of the kingdom Mohammed bin Salman (Mbs). In response to the accusations, the leaders of the monarchy have repeatedly denied any involvement, at the same time hindering the UN international inquiry called to shed light on the matter.
The UN experts, led by the special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, yesterday released the first results of the investigations carried out in recent weeks. They speak of brutal crime "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi agents, behind the mandate of the highest offices of the country.
"From the preliminary results - the note continues - it is not possible to establish whether the purpose was to kidnap Khashoggi, and that the murder is a consequence of the failure of the mission". Moreover, concludes Callamard, delayed access to the consulate and residence and "cleaning the crime scenes" have greatly limited the possibility of producing certain evidence.
Meanwhile, further details are emerging from the United States pointing to the Saudi royal house. According to New York Times sources, a year before the murder Mbs had told a close collaborator that he wanted to use "a bullet" against the journalist. A comment intercepted by US intelligence agencies, according to which the reference to the "bullet" would have been metaphorical and that the goal of the crown prince was to repatriate the journalist and stop articles critical of the Saudi leadership.
There are no official comments on this latest revelation from the Saudi embassy in Washington, the CIA and the NSA national security agency.
Meanwhile, some Democratic and Republican MPs have re-launched their appeal yesterday to introduce punitive measures against Saudi Arabia for the Khashoggi murder and the war in Yemen, which has created a very serious humanitarian crisis. The bipartisan commission calls for a ban on the sale of arms - under the Trump presidency the arms trade multiplied after Obama's willing reinvention - and targeted sanctions against the perpetrators of the assassination.