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Khashoggi US welcomes important step, Guterres calls for impartial investigation

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Khashoggi US welcomes important step, Guterres calls for impartial investigation

Erdem Sahin / EPA

The United States considers the condemnation of five Saudis to death "an important step." The UN calls for an independent and impartial investigation.

The United States said Monday that condemning the Saudi court to the death penalty of five Saudis for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is "an important step."

"Today's verdicts are an important step in making all those responsible for this terrible crime pay," a senior US official told reporters, who asked not to be named.

While Turkey, the UN and several human rights organizations strongly criticized the ruling of the Riyadh court, which relieved two of the top suspects of responsibility, the US official simply called for “more transparency” from Saudi Arabia, an allied country. from the USA.

"The Secretary-General continues to underline the need for an independent and impartial investigation into the murder to ensure a general analysis and accountability for all human rights violations committed in this case," the spokesman said at a press conference. of the UN, Stéphane Dujarric.

The representative also noted that António Guterres reiterated “the UN commitment to ensure freedom of expression and the protection of journalists”, also insisting on the historic opposition to the UN death penalty.

"The sentence serves to whiten the charges and does not do justice or show the truth to Jamal Khashoggi and his family," Amnesty International Middle East Unit Director Lynn Maalouf said in a statement, classifying the trial as " an unfair process ”.

"This sentence does not address the involvement of Saudi authorities in the crime," he added, noting that the trial was held behind closed doors.

Turkey has requested the extradition of 18 Saudis detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder, and Riyadh declined and said they would be tried in Saudi Arabia.

The attorneys for the suspects asked to hear the exact charges against their clients and a time to review them, but although the court accepted their requests, they did not set a date for a new hearing.

Sources close to the lawsuit said several of the defendants defended themselves in court saying they were following orders from General Ahmed al-Assiri – another of the Saudi crown prince's close advisers – describing him as "the leader" of the operation.

Both Ahmed al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani were the subject of arrest orders issued in early December by the Turkish authorities for alleged involvement in Khashoggi's death.

Of the 11 people charged in this case, five were sentenced to death, three to 24 years in prison, and the rest were acquitted. Convicts can appeal, according to the text of the press release.

The court held a total of nine hearings in the presence of representatives of the international community and relatives of Jamal Khashoggi, concluding that Khashoggi's murder “was not premeditated”.

However, the CIA and the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions have stated that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is linked to the murder, accusations Mohammed bin Salman denies.

US President Donald Trump declined to accept the CIA position and argued that there was no solid evidence for the prosecution. The United Nations and human rights groups called for an independent investigation into the murder.

On October 2, 2018, the Saudi journalist, who lived in the US, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to handle some documents required for marriage to a Turkish citizen. The journalist did not leave the consulate again, where he was killed by Saudi agents, who left Turkey and returned to Saudi Arabia shortly after the murder.

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