'Credible Evidence' Linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman To Columnist Jamal Khashoggi's Murder

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's "personal assets" should be targeted with sanctions until there is proof he was not responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert said Wednesday.

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Updated On:

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated in the murder of Washington Post columnist and Kingdom critic Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert has stated, citing 'credible information'. 

The expert further stated that the "personal assets" should be targeted with sanctions until there is proof he was not responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

"In view of the credible evidence into the responsibilities of the Crown Prince for (Khashoggi's) murder, such sanctions ought also to include the Crown Prince and his personal assets abroad, until and unless evidence is provided and corroborated that he carries no responsibilities for this execution," the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard said in a report. 

The killing of the journalist by a Saudi hit-team in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey's Istanbul on October 2 provoked dissent tarnished the image of the crown prince. 

Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned against "exploiting" the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared to be a veiled attack on Turkey. Turkey's ties with Saudi Arabia have come under strain since the brutal murder last October of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which tarnished the international reputation of the crown prince.

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Turkish officials were the first to report the murder and have continued to press Saudi Arabia for information on the whereabouts of his dismembered body, which has yet to be found.

"The death of Jamal Khashoggi is a very painful crime," Prince Mohammed told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published Sunday.

"Any party exploiting the case politically should stop doing so, and present evidence to the (Saudi) court, which will contribute in achieving justice," he added, without directly naming Turkey.

Back in November, the CIA has concluded that the murder was likely ordered by MBS, the de facto ruler and heir to the Arab world's most powerful throne. Saudi authorities strongly deny the allegation. Meanwhile, pertaining to the proximity of the Trump administration to the Kingdom, White House tried to brush off the killing under the carpet.

Meanwhile, the remains of Khashoggi's body are still missing, however, the UN expert investigation told Al Jazeera that the team of forensic and legal experts accessed the 'chilling and gruesome audio materials' of his killing which was obtained from the Turkish intelligence agency. 

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Saudi prosecutors have absolved the prince and said around two dozen people implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against five men.

Khashoggi, a US resident, had written critically of Prince Mohammed and was killed in what Riyadh described as a rogue operation.

Prince Mohammed said the kingdom was committed to "full justice and accountability" in the case, as he faces international pressure to punish the culprits.

(With PTI inputs) 

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