Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder to Undergo UN Inquiry
The United Nations (UN) will officially lead an international inquiry into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an opinion writer for the Washington Post.
UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard will stay in Turkey from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 to conduct a probe into the execution of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi – an incident that drew attention and condemnation from around the world.
“I will be heading an independent international inquiry into the killing of Saudi journalist Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” said Callamard in an email to Reuters. The French woman also added that the outcome of the investigation in Turkey will be recommended to the UN Human Rights Council, and the team will evaluate Saudi Arabia’s level of involvement in the killing.
Khashoggi, a permanent resident of the US and once a royal family insider before turning into an outspoken critic of Saudi’s influential prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), was killed in the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul while getting paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee on Oct. 2, 2018.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) concluded that MBS was linked to the murder, a statement backed by US Congressman and Western and Turkish intelligence bodies. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the highest level of Saudi’s leadership ordered Khashoggi’s killing, but the Saudis deny MBS is linked to the tragedy. While US President Donald Trump maintained the prince was not guilty of the assassination.
In early January, a video showing a group of men allegedly carrying a bag with Khashoggi’s body parts was leaked to Turkish media outlets. However, the originality of the video is still not confirmed.
Saudi Arabia tried the 11 suspects allegedly involved in the killing; five of them face the death penalty. The hearing was held on Jan. 3 and was closed to the public. The identities of those suspects are still unknown. It is also unclear why the Saudi prosecutor sought a death sentence for only five individuals but not for the remaining six.
Turkey Accuses the West of Ignoring Khashoggi’s Killing
While the killing of Khashoggi drew international attention, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, blamed Western countries for trying to cover up the case, without mentioning which specific countries.
“Western countries are trying to cover this case up. I know the reasons. We know and see what sorts of deals are made. We see how those who spoke of freedom of the press are now covering this up after seeing money,” Cavusoglu stated to Anadolu, the Turkish state media.
Western Countries Move on from Kashoggi’s Murder
Saudi Arabia and MBS have faced intense pressure from international communities following the journalist’s killing. Saudi Arabia is likely hoping that as time passes the world will just forget about what happened in Istanbul and the country’s reputation will bounce back. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which will wrap up Jan. 26, the Saudis sat amiably with several Western powers.
Some Western business elites sat side by side with Saudi’s high-ranked officials. Swiss President Ueli Maurer said his country is ready to move on from Khashoggi’s killing and build a stronger business relationship with Riyadh.
In contrast, at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of 2018 some world leaders kept their distance from the prince during a photo session. The Davos meeting, however, seems to be an opportunity for MBS to restore his tarnished reputation.
Saudi Arabia Is Optimistic Khashoggi’s Death Won’t Hurt Business
The Saudi economic minister Mohammad Al Tuwaijri said no Western investors refused to meet Saudi delegates in Davos.
The minister told CNBC he regretted what happened to Khashoggi, but he asked international communities to wait for the verdict of the trial. Despite the international pressure, foreign investment in the kingdom has doubled. The World Economic Forum (WEF) appointed two of Saudi’s prominent firms, Aramco and Sabic, as two of its 100 strategic partners in 2019.
Aramco, the kingdom’s oil giant, is still planning its historic initial public offering (IPO) in 2021, which analysts believe will be the world’s most extensive public offering.
Meanwhile, Turkey seems to be the only country that has yet to move on from Khashoggi’s murder, while international communities are waiting for the UN-backed probe’s result.