Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Saudi human-rights official decries inquiry into Khashoggi killing as foreign interference

Saudi human-rights official decries inquiry into Khashoggi killing as foreign interference

Saudi Arabia initially said it had no knowledge of his fateIt has since blamed rogue agents for Khashoggi s death and the kingdom s public prosecutor has charged 11 people over his murder.

His comments came hours after the head of the Saudi human rights commission said the kingdom was bringing those accused of the murder to justice and rejected an global investigation into the case.

The head of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission said Thursday that judicial authorities in the oil-rich kingdom have held three court sessions over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing it as an "unfortunate accident" and a "heinous crime".

Three dozen Western countries, including all 28 European Union members, called on Saudi Arabia last week to co-operate with a UN-led investigation. While he provided no names or details about the men who have been charged, he assured the 47-member council that Saudi Arabia is adhering to its own constitutional principles as well as worldwide law.

Some Western governments have accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being implicated in the murder.

He said the kingdom would not accept what he termed as foreign interference in its domestic affairs and judicial system.

The Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at the time of the murder, Mohammed al-Otaibi, is also among the 20 individuals listed on Interpol's red notice.

Mr al Aiban's comments formed part of the Saudi response during the UN's periodic review in Geneva, where countries offer recommendations to others to improve their human rights record.

The killing has severely strained ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, although Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has good ties with the Saudi monarch, King Salman.

The CIA concluded late past year that bin Salman ordered the journalist's assassination, an accusation that has been echoed by USA senators and other observers.

On the United Nations recommendations on human rights, Al-Aiban said Riyadh was in the process of studying them but that some of them contradicted Saudi regulations.

Agnes Callamard, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, was in Turkey in late January to probe what happened to the journalist.

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