The top line out of the new United Nations report released Wednesday on the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is that there is “credible evidence” that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and other high-level officials are personally liable for the grisly murder.
But the 101-page report also shows that while Khashoggi was certainly a wanted man, the kingdom may not have conspired to kill him as a first choice but rather did so as a Plan B, according to the findings by Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
Instead, they hoped to take him back to the kingdom to face Mohammed bin Salman personally. When it seemed clear he would not cooperate, they killed him.
Saudi Arabia has 11 yet-unidentified people on trial for the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them. But Callamard says the trial is a farce and fails to meet international standards. She calls for it to be suspended and for an independent investigative team to look into the kingdom’s involvement instead. Khashoggi’s body has never been found.
“Nothing new,” Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of foreign affairs of Saudi Arabia tweeted in response to the report. “The report of the rapporteur in the human rights council contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility.”