Saudi crown prince told aide he would use ‘a bullet’ on Khashoggi

Frederick Owens
February 8, 2019

Khashoggi's murder has put the spotlight on Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of ordering the journalist's assassination.

After Khashoggi's first visit to the consulate on September 28, Saudi planning included "the travel of the three teams that carried out the operation; the presence of a lookalike of Mr Khashoggi who was seen leaving the consulate; the presence of a forensic doctor; the escape of the teams' members and, of course, the disposal of Mr Khashoggi's body", Ms Callard said.

Saudi officials had "seriously undermined" and delayed Turkey's efforts to investigate the crime scene at its Istanbul consulate, where Mr. Khashoggi had gone to get papers needed for his wedding, she said.

Saudi Arabia initially denied having anything to do with Khashoggi's death, but later suggested that he died during an accidental " fistfight" with officials inside the building.

She expressed "major concerns" about the fairness of proceedings for 11 people facing trial in the kingdom over Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi's murder by a team of Saudi operatives on October 2 provoked widespread revulsion and tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, previously respected in the West for pushing deep changes, including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive.

Callamard, a French human rights expert, is due to deliver a final report to the United Nations human rights council in June.

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"I have requested an official country visit to Saudi Arabia so that the authorities there can directly provide me with relevant evidence", she wrote.

"Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by worldwide standards for investigation".

Notably, Qahtani, whom the USA intelligence agencies see as the main person in the operation that killed Khashoggi, was dismissed in the course of the Saudi investigation into the incident.

The prosecutor said earlier this month his office was seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 indicted suspects. "It is also raising a number of worldwide implications which demand the urgent attention of the global community including the United Nations", she said.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the sheer brutality of it has brought irreversible tragedy to his loved ones", said Callamard. "Notwithstanding public and congressional outrage and the reported findings of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Trump administration appears to be engaged in a cover-up on behalf of the Saudi government", they wrote.

Two US officials said this week that the Central Intelligence Agency stood by its "medium-to-high confidence" assessment that MBS personally targeted Khashoggi, authorised the operation against him, and probably ordered his death.

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