Baseless allegations in UN's Khashoggi report: Saudi Minister

Jamal Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked ab outcry against the kingdom

Jamal Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked ab outcry against the kingdom Credit MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH AFP Getty Images

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior officials should be investigated over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi given credible evidence against them, a United Nations rights investigator said on Wednesday.

With access to audio recordings provided by Turkish intelligence, Callamard laid out in graphic detail how Saudi government agents prepared to kill and dismember Khashoggi.

In her remarks about the Crown Prince and Saud Alqahtani, a senior Saudi royal court advisor, Ms Callamard wrote: "No conclusion is made as to guilt". The two discussed which type of bag to place the body in - leather, they suggested - and referred to Khashoggi as a "sacrificial animal".

Callamard stressed that "no conclusion is made as to guilt", in her findings which were based on a large body of evidence, including CCTV footage from inside the consulate and recordings of the killing itself. Khashoggi insisted that people were waiting for him outside, as one of the agents tried to persuade him to send a message to his son.

"The steps taken by Saudi Arabia, in response to the execution, are not only insufficient", she said.

According to the report, the five facing the death penalty are Fahad Shabib Albalawi; Turki Muserref Alshehri; Waleed Abdullah Alshehri; Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence officer who the U.S. says worked for Saud al-Qahtani, the crown prince's adviser; and Dr Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, a forensic doctor with the interior ministry.

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The report detailed at length the power structure in the kingdom, which in nearly all cases emanates downward from the office of the crown prince.

But Callamard said she concluded "that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials' individual liability, including the crown prince's".

When Khashoggi asked what he should say, Mutreb offered to coach him through it.

Mutreb and 10 others are now standing trial in closed hearings in Saudi Arabia for their role in the crime.

Western intelligence agencies, including in the USA, have already assessed that the crown prince was involved in Khashoggi's death, but this report is from an independent investigator. See you soon? I can't say kidnapping.

"Strongly endorse #UN Rapporteur @AgnesCallamard's recommendations for elucidating Khashoggi's murder&holding those responsible accountable", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.

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Callamard, however, said she found that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia had "failed to meet global standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths".

When Khashoggi refused to cooperate, a struggle can be heard, including heavy panting.

Callamard said in her report that the heir to the throne undeniable bore some degree of responsibility for the journalists' murder simply for allowing that crackdown to continue.

Khashoggi then became a US resident - splitting time between Virginia, London and Istanbul - and continued to criticize the kingdom's policies from afar in columns for the Post.

In fact, it was revealed earlier this month that the Trump administration twice approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's killing.

She added that she had received only a total of 45 minutes of tapes recorded within the consulate around the time of the killing, while Turkish intelligence reportedly had some 7 hours of recordings.

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