Saudis Hampered Turkish Probe Into Khashoggi’s Murder, UN Says

(Bloomberg) -- A top United Nations human rights official said columnist Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a “brutal and premeditated killing” by Saudi officials and accused the kingdom of undermining Turkish efforts to investigate the assassination.

Agnes Callamard, an expert on executions at the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Thursday that Turkey’s efforts to assemble a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into Khashoggi’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October were blocked by the kingdom. Turkish investigators did eventually gain access to the consulate, but only after weeks had passed.

“Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation,” Callamard said in her first official findings in the probe, according to a statement from the UN office.

Khashoggi, an insider-turned-critic who wrote about the Saudi regime for outlets including the Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by people close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the consulate after entering to pick up documents for his wedding. Saudi Arabia has said the kingdom’s 33-year-old de facto ruler was not aware of any plan to kill Khashoggi.

Callamard -- the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions -- will report her final conclusions to the UN Human Rights Council during its June 2019 session.

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