Turkey should urgently ask UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a United Nations investigation into the possible extrajudicial execution of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI), and Reporters Without Borders (RWB), said.
The investigation should determine the circumstances surrounding Saudi Arabia’s role in the enforced disappearance and possible killing of Khashoggi. It should aim to identify everyone responsible for ordering, planning, and executing any operations connected with the case.
“Turkey should enlist the UN to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation” said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the CPJ. “UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh.”
Evidence collected by the UN investigation team should be preserved for use in future prosecutions. The investigation team should have complete access to travel where it needs to and to interview potential witnesses or suspects without interference. The team should also recommend avenues for bringing to justice anyone against whom credible and admissible evidence of involvement is found.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 and has not been seen or heard from since. Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, claiming he left the consulate on his own shortly after his arrival, but it has failed to produce any evidence supporting this claim.
Saudi authorities have escalated their crackdown on dissenting voices in the country since Mohammad bin Salman became crown prince in June 2017, marked by systematic repression of dissent, including peaceful expression directed to the promotion and protection of human rights. Virtually all human rights defenders and critical voices, including religious clerics, journalists, and academics, have been targeted in the recent arrests.
CPJ research says taht Khashoggi’s disappearance comes after more than a year of arrests targeting journalists who reported on corruption, women’s rights, and other sensitive issues. Several are being held in unknown locations, without charges.