Human rights group calls for EU probe into Jamal Khashoggi death
Not too late for EU leaders to ask for an independent investigation commission, says Willy Fautre.
Credit: PA Photos
A respected international human rights group has thrown its weight behind calls for an independent investigation commission to be set up to probe the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia's explanations for Khashoggi's disappearance have shifted constantly, from initial assertions that he was still alive to the possibility rogue elements were to blame, even as it became clear that responsibility for his death reached into the highest offices in the Gulf Kingdom and could implicate the de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Willy Fautre, of the Brussels-based campaign group, Human Rights Without Frontiers, has added his voice to those calling for an independent investigation into the death and possible role of the Saudi regime.
Fautre, the director of the rights NGO, told this website: “It must be regretted that, despite irrefutable evidence about the premeditated assassination of Khashoggi, European leaders have been very reluctant to point fingers at the Saudi royal family as the main sponsor of this terrifying killing.
“But it is not too late for them to ask for an independent investigation commission to identify all the culprits and have them brought to justice.”
The demand comes as the US administration last week imposed penalties on 17 Saudi individuals over their alleged roles in the killing of the dissident journalist.
In the latest development, the Turkish government on Friday rejected the latest Saudi explanation for the reporter's murder as "unsatisfactory."
The fresh sanctions from the US Treasury Department come hours after Saudi prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for five people charged in the murder of the US resident, who was a contributor to The Washington Post.
Fautre’s comments come after Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor this week concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Khashoggi's murder, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The officer was tasked with persuading the dissident journalist to return to the Gulf kingdom, a spokesman said. Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after a struggle in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, he added.
The Saudi public prosecutor has charged 11 people over the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them. Their cases have been referred to a court while investigations into another 10 people suspected of involvement continue.
At a news conference in Riyadh on Thursday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said Khashoggi's body was dismembered inside the consulate after his death.
The body parts were then handed over to a local "collaborator" outside the grounds, he added. A composite sketch of the collaborator has been produced and investigations are continuing to locate the remains.
The circumstances of Khashoggi’s death were recently described as “deeply troubling” by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. She too called for a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation.”
Mogherini said in a statement, “The European Union, like its partners, insists on the need for continued thorough, credible and transparent investigation, shedding proper clarity on the circumstances of the killing and ensuring full accountability of all those responsible for it.”
Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the country's government, disappeared on October 2 after he went into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.
A search for his remains in a forest near Istanbul has been unsuccessful. However, biological evidence of the murder is understood to have been found at the nearby consul general’s residence.
The Saudi government has repeatedly said the crown prince had no knowledge of the operation, even though two of his closest aides are suspected of having been involved. The two aides were dismissed from their jobs last month and are implicated in the investigation.
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