Human rights group calls for international probe into Khashoggi murder

Published 11.01.2019 00:00
Updated 11.01.2019 08:00

The case of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi should become the subject of an international probe, an Amnesty International Turkey official said Thursday.

"The murder of Khashoggi, which happened before the whole world, should also be the subject of an international investigation," Göksu Özahıshalı, the organization's campaign manager in Turkey, told reporters in front of Saudi Arabia's Consulate General in Istanbul on the 100th day after the killing.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the country's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.

The kingdom initially denied any role in Khashoggi's disappearance before acknowledging that he was murdered inside the consulate but passed the buck to rogue agents, while insisting that the crown prince had no prior knowledge of the matter, an explanation far from convincing for many.

Özahıshalı and other Amnesty International activists said they demand justice for Khashoggi, who raised his voice for freedom of speech in the Arab world.

"Turkish authorities, who initiated an investigation in the aftermath of Khashoggi case, found out that he was strangled and then dismembered. The body of the violently murdered Khashoggi has yet to be found," she said.

On the 100th day since his death, the street where Khashoggi was last seen was named after him, Özahıshalı said.

"With this symbolic activity, we are reiterating our demand of justice for Khashoggi," she added.

Stating that they were glad for the efforts of the Turkish authorities, Özahıshalı added: "As Amnesty International, we once again urge the start of an independent U.N. investigation into the Khashoggi murder and torture, and other crimes, and violations committed during the murder."

She said the killing of Khashoggi turned the eyes of the whole world toward the kingdom and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

Özahıshalı said they see the probe initiated by the Saudi authorities as just for show, and added: "The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has turned the eyes of the whole world toward Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman."

"We don't believe Saudi authorities, who initiated a showy investigation into the murder, will conduct a fair and reliable process," she indicated.

Previously, the kingdom's attorney general sought the death penalty for five of the 11 defendants charged with the murder of Khashoggi as their high-profile trial opened in Riyadh.

All 11 accused were present with their lawyers at the opening hearing in the capital, according to a statement by Attorney General Saud al-Mujeb carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. The statement added that the prosecution demanded death sentences for five suspects, adding that the interrogation of the suspects continues.

Erol Önderoğlu, Turkey representative of the Reporters Without Borders, also supported the press statement.

Ankara has used every means available to bring those responsible to justice, 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. Turkey has also repeatedly said it would demand a probe into the incident from the U.N.

Despite the 100 days since the murder took place, Riyadh remains apprehensive about revealing new information regarding the murder.

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