UN ex­pert blasts Saudi prince over de­nial of Khashoggi death

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

GENEVA (AFP) — A U.N. hu­man rights ex­pert who led a probe into the bru­tal mur­der of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi crit­i­cized Saudi Ara­bia’s crown prince on Mon­day for try­ing to cre­ate “dis­tance” be­tween him­self and the ex­e­cu­tion.

Agnes Cal­la­mard, the United Na­tions spe­cial rap­por­teur on ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, was re­act­ing to an in­ter­view with Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man broad­cast by U.S. me­dia on Sun­day.

Speak­ing to CBS’s 60 Min­utes, Prince Mo­hammed de­nied or­der­ing or hav­ing ad­vanced warn­ing of Khashoggi’s killing on Oc­to­ber 2 last year at the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, but said he “took full re­spon­si­bil­ity as a leader in Saudi Ara­bia.”

Cal­la­mard, whose in­de­pen­dent probe found “cred­i­ble ev­i­dence” link­ing the crown prince to the mur­der and at­tempted cover-up, dis­missed that de­fense as “prob­lem­atic.”

“He is only tak­ing cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity for the crime, which goes with­out say­ing,” Cal­la­mard told AFP days ahead of the first an­niver­sary of Khashoggi’s death. She said that the in­ter­view marked a con­ces­sion by Prince Mo­hammed that “the killing of Mr. Khashoggi was a state killing.” But the U.N. ex­pert con­demned the prince, known by his ini­tials MBS, for tak­ing “no per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for the crime.”

“He is creat­ing huge dis­tance be­tween him­self and the crime,” by ar­gu­ing that he can­not be li­able for the con­duct of all Saudi govern­ment em­ploy­ees, she said.

Cal­la­mard told AFP that “for the last 12 months, the Saudi state, their var­i­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tives and (MBS) in­cluded have been ly­ing to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity re­gard­ing the na­ture of the crime. So now we are sup­posed to take his word that, yes, he has a cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity but he has no per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity?” “Not good enough,” she said. The CIA has also re­port­edly said the killing was likely or­dered by Prince Mo­hammed.

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

Cal­la­mard has pre­vi­ously blamed U.N. “paral­y­sis” for the fail­ure to pun­ish those who mur­dered Khashoggi — a U.S. res­i­dent, Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­u­tor and critic of the Saudi royal fam­ily.

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