Saudi trial in Khashoggi case ‘not sufficient’, says United Nations rights office

Marsha Scott
January 5, 2019

The first closed hearing in the Jamal Khashoggi murder trial was held in Riyadh today, with 11 suspects present.

The attorney general said Saudi Arabia had twice submitted formal requests for evidence from Turkey - where Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate - but had received no response.

His murder sparked global tensions, with Saudi Arabia initially denying that he had been killed and United States intelligence officials, among others, accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of direct involvement in the murder.

In November, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said investigators had concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Mr Khashoggi's murder, applying a lethal injection inside the consulate.

"We are aware of this trial that is taking place in Saudi Arabia, but this is not sufficient", she added.

Members of the Saudi government deny that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was involved in the killing of Khashoggi.

"From the very beginning of this case, we've been pressing for justice.We've been calling for an independent investigation with global involvement", Shamdasani said. The defendants requested copies of the indictment against them and asked for time to review it.

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"The Public Prosecutor continues to investigate the case with the rest of the individuals in custody in relation to this crime", Thursday's statement said. No date has been set for the next hearing.

US leads the charge with a Senate resolution against the regime after the murder of the journalist; Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer explains the fallout. A bipartisan resolution approved by the US Senate last month also holds the crown prince responsible for the killing. The Saudi attorney general has demanded death sentences for five of the accused.

It was unclear whether Qahtani and Ahmad al-Assiri, two senior aides to Prince Mohammed initially implicated in Khashoggi´s murder, were among those on trial.

Turkish authorities have previously said they passed on investigatory evidence to Saudi Arabia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has requested that the accused stand trial in Turkey because the murder happened on Turkish soil.

The United Nations said on Friday that it could not assess the fairness of a trial taking place in Saudi Arabia related to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but that in any case it was "not sufficient", while also urging an worldwide probe over the murder.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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