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UN Chief Hasn't Shown Courage, Claims Official on Jamal Khashoggi's Murder Probe

The statement comes weeks after secret tapes heard by UN revealed Saudi operatives joked about dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi's body before his arrival.

News18.com

Updated:October 28, 2019, 8:14 AM IST
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UN Chief Hasn't Shown Courage, Claims Official on Jamal Khashoggi's Murder Probe
Image for representation. (Photo: Reuters)

New York: A United Nations official on Sunday expressed disappointment that the world body’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres did not demand a criminal investigation into the murder of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Asserting that international scrutiny on the murder was “absolutely required”, Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said, “I am disappointed that he (Antonio Guterres) has not taken the opportunity that I provided him with to move us a little bit further in the road towards accountability.”

“The Secretary-General has not been very courageous, but ... the rest of the international community has not been particularly courageous either on that particular issue. There has been a kind of coalition of the willing not to do anything,” she added.

Callamard’s statement comes weeks after secret tapes heard by UN revealed that Saudi operatives suspected of the murder at the country's Istanbul consulate were heard joking and talking about dismemberment before his arrival.

Helena Kennedy, a British lawyer assisting the UN probe into Khashoggi's death, had said recordings she had heard from inside the kingdom's mission in Turkey referred to the Saudi critic as a "sacrificial animal".

"There was a discussion about 'will the body and the hips fit into a bag this way'?", she had told BBC television's Panorama documentary programme broadcast.

Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York on Sunday, Callamard said Turkey could have come forward with a formal request to Guterres in the case, insisting that Khashoggi’s killing “is an international issue” and not just Turkey’s domestic matter of crime.

“The killing of Khashoggi was the least domestic killing that I can think of,” Callamard said, adding, “International scrutiny was absolutely required”.

In June, Callamard had presented her special report on Khashoggi’s murder, in which she called for an international investigation into the murder, adding that the Saudi probe into the matter has failed to examine who may have ordered the killing.

Khashoggi was a journalist with The Washington Post and a vocal critic of the Saudi regime. He was killed on October 2 last year at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce from his former wife Alaa Nassif in order to marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

According to US intelligence agencies, the murder was enacted upon orders given by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, an allegation denied by Saudi Arabia.

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