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June 27, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:59am

UN expert defends report into Jamal Khashoggi killing after Saudi criticism

By PA Mediapoint and Press Gazette

A UN expert has defended her report into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi after it drew condemnation from a top Saudi diplomat at a meeting of the Human Rights Council.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil  lashed out at UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard’s report alleging Saudi Arabia was responsible for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (pictured), saying it was based on “prejudice and pre-fabricated ideas”.

The UN report said there was “credible evidence, warranting further investigation” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level Saudi officials may be liable for Khashoggi’s murder.

In what amounted to a face-off at the UN’s top human rights body, Alwasil insisted Callamard had failed to follow proper procedures and used flawed sourcing in her 101-page report made public last week.

“Accusations have been launched, and fingers have been pointed – [she is] supporting herself on non-credible articles or sources,” he told the Human Rights Council in Arabic through a UN interpreter.

Callamard, sitting at the council podium to present her report, retorted that her methodology had respected precedent and insisted her report was not based on media coverage.

She also said she had not received any responses in writing from Saudi authorities to her report.

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The report by Callamard, an independent expert on extrajudicial and arbitrary killings, alleged that Saudi Arabia bears responsibility for the Washington Post columnist’s apparent dismemberment by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October.

It said Crown Prince bin Salman’s possible role in the killing should be examined, and Callamard used Tuesday’s presentation to push for further investigation.

She also wrote that Saudi Arabia, which has put 11 people on trial in non-public proceedings, should not be allowed to mete out justice alone in a case with vast international implications and called for a “proper authority” to determine if crimes had been committed.

Callamard said the Saudi trial should be suspended because it fails to meet procedural standards, a suggestion rejected by the Saudi ambassador.

Picture: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali/File

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