UN special rapporteur meets with FM Çavuşoğlu over Khashoggi killing

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.01.2019 13:12
Updated 28.01.2019 16:51
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AA Photo

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday met in Ankara with Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, to discuss the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Çavuşoğlu, Callamard and accompanying experts met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Official Residence in the Turkish capital.

The U.N. delegation is also expected to meet with Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Irfan Fidan as part of the investigation into Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents at its consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, provoking an international outcry.

In a statement last week, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Callamard would begin an international investigation into Khashoggi's murder, starting with a visit to Turkey from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2. The statement said Callamard would examine the evidence to determine the nature and extent of the responsibility of governments and individuals in the killing of the journalist, as well as reactions and steps taken by those governments regarding the murder. Callamard said Sunday she has also requested information from other authorities, including in the United States.

Callamard will present the information obtained during the investigation and her recommendations during the June session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Callamard, a French academic who is director of the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Department at Columbia University in New York, reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and has a global mandate to investigate executions. She is accompanied on the visit by Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC, and former World Academy of Forensic Medicine President and Coimbra University Faculty of Medicine head Dr. Duarte Nuno Vieira.

Media outlets also reported that Riyadh has not replied yet to the requests of the rapporteur to enter the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to view the crime scene and arrange a meeting with the Saudi ambassador.

Khashoggi's murder prompted an unprecedented international outcry and forced many countries to reassess their ties with Riyadh. Although Saudi officials have denied numerous times that the royal family and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of the murder, all evidence has been pointing to the crown prince as the mastermind. Despite more than 100 days passing since Khashoggi's assassination, the whereabouts of his body remain unknown.

Ankara has used every means available to bring those responsible to justice and maintaining international pressure. Turkish officials previously said they shared evidence with Saudi Arabia and other nations about Khashoggi's killing and repeatedly called for the suspects to be extradited to Turkey, where the crime was committed. Saudi authorities have denied Turkey's requests and said the suspects will be tried in the kingdom.

A Saudi public prosecutor's spokesman said last year that 21 Saudis were taken into custody in relation to the case, 11 of whom have been indicted and referred to trial. Earlier this month the prosecutor said it was seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 detained suspects.

The U.S. has been unwilling to impose sanctions on Riyadh and the crown prince, whom the CIA assessed with high-confidence that he "personally targeted" Khashoggi and "probably ordered his death," due to the expensive arms sale and Saudi Arabia's alleged role in containing Iran's influence in the region.

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