Mohamed bin Salman the Saudi crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi murder - UN Expert Says
Credible evidence suggests Mohamed bin Salman was responsible for Khashoggi murder and the Saudi crown prince's 'personal assets' should be targeted with sanctions, UN expert says
There is 'credible evidence' to suggest Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year, UN expert says. Probe should be launched to see if 'threshold of criminal responsibility was met'
The UN special rapporteur also called for sanctions against the prince's assets
Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year
Saudi Arabia has admitted its agents carried out the 'premeditated' killing, but denies that bin Salman knew of the operation
There is credible evidence that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is liable for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert has said.
Agnes Callamard, a United Nations special rapporteur, has called for an impartial, international investigation to establish whether the 'threshold of criminal responsibility has been met'.
In a 99-page report on the killing, Callamard said she had listened to audio recordings of what happened at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi - a critic of the prince - was killed on October 2 last year.
She said experts found it 'inconceivable' that a sophisticated 15-man mission to kill Khashoggi could have happened without Prince Mohammed's knowledge.
Calling for sanctions on the prince's 'personal assets', she said other high-level Saudi officials should also face a probe.
Turkey immediately welcomed Callamard's findings.
Ankara's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he 'strongly endorsed' her recommendations for investigating Prince Mohammed.
The special rapporteur's report states in plain terms that Khashoggi's death was an 'extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible'.
Callamard said she had found evidence that 'Khashoggi was himself fully aware of the powers held by the Crown Prince, and fearful of him.'
Laying out her claims, she said the operation to kill Khashoggi must have had government backing.
Two of the alleged hit squad had used diplomatic passports, and that the encounter at the consulate was 'only possible because of the pretense of government service', she said.
Discussing the prince in particular, she said there was 'credible evidence meriting further investigation' about whether he had been involved.
Prince Mohammed had allowed a wide-ranging crackdown on journalists and regime opponents in the past, she said, which included 'repeated unlawful acts of torture and physical harm'.
'Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources and finances,' she said.
'Every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the Crown Prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr Khashoggi, was being launched.
'Thereafter, Saudi officials proceeded to take multiple steps apparently designed to destroy evidence, while simultaneously denying Mr Khashoggi's death, until the government was forced to acknowledge the murder.
'This destruction of evidence could not have taken place without the Crown Prince's awareness.'
In her report Callamard also suggests that the prince may be guilty even if there is no 'smoking gun' which shows he ordered the crime.
High-level officials can be criminally responsible if they disregard information which 'clearly indicated that subordinates were committing or about to commit a crime,' she said.
For her investigation, Callamard said that, among other things, she had viewed listened to an audio recording from inside the consulate of the killing itself.
Her report confirms the existence of an audio recording, although she said she was not allowed to make copies.
In addition, she was only granted access to 45 minutes of recordings when Turkish intelligence indicated they had at least seven hours, she said.
Addressing one of the main theories about the killing, she said she 'could not reach firm conclusions' on whether she could hear the sound of a saw in operation.