World ‘Brutal murder’: World reacts to US report on Khashoggi killing
US report on Khashoggi murder critical for justice: UN expert
White House says unclassified US intelligence report on 2018 murder of Saudi journalist will be released ‘soon’.Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is expected to provide information on who was responsible for the October 2018 killing.
US intelligence agencies have concluded in a new report that slain Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi hit squad operating under the command of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
The unclassified report released on Friday confirmed the role top US intelligence officials believe Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler played in the 2018 killing of Khashoggi.
US to release report fingering Saudi prince in Khashoggi murder
The US director of national intelligence is expected to release a damning report Friday that fingers Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the brutal murder and dismemberment of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. The classified report is believed to say that, based on intelligence collected by the CIA and other spy bodies, the kingdom's de facto leader directed the assassination of the respected US-based writer in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the Office of US Director of National Intelligence said.
“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organisations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorisation.”
The 59-year-old was a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper who had been critical of the Saudi government. He was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Saudi officials have denied MBS had any role in the assassination.
Khashoggi murder report puts US-Saudi ties on thinner ice
The explosive US finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi promises fresh turbulence between the allies but it is doubtful that Washington will shun the kingdom's de facto ruler. The decision to declassify the report on Khashoggi's grisly killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 marks a major departure by US President Joe Biden from his predecessor Donald Trump, who boasted of close ties with the kingdom.
Here is how the world reacted to the release of the four-page report.
Saudi Foreign Ministry:
In a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA, the kingdom’s foreign ministry said: “The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the … assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions.”
United Arab Emirates:
The UAE defended Saudi Arabia’s position, reported UAE’s state news agency WAM on Saturday.
The UAE’s foreign ministry “expressed its confidence in and support for the Saudi judiciary rulings, which affirm the kingdom’s commitment to implementing the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and holding all those involved in this case accountable”, WAM said.
The British foreign office reiterated the United Kingdom has always been clear that “Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was a terrible crime”.
Pompeo claims 'many' in Saudi want normalisation with Israel
Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said "many" people in Saudi Arabia want normalised relations with Israel, voicing hope the kingdom will join the Abraham Accords agreed during Donald Trump's administration.Pompeo, who served as Trump's CIA director and top diplomat, made the comments in a recorded video address to the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, which will give him its inaugural Global Leadership Award on Monday.
In a statement, it said: “We called for a thorough, credible and transparent investigation to hold those responsible to account and imposed sanctions against 20 Saudis involved in the murder.
“The Foreign Secretary raised the issue during his visit to Riyadh last year, and we continue to raise it in our engagements with the Saudi government.”
UN Human Rights Investigator Agnes Callamard:
In a Facebook post, Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the US should lead in ensuring accountability.
“With the release of the US report, confirming Saudi officials’ culpability at the highest levels, the United States should now take the lead in ensuring accountability for this crime and for setting in place the international mechanisms to prevent and punish such acts in the future,” Callamard wrote.
“The United States government should impose sanctions against the Crown Prince, as it has done for the other perpetrators – targeting his personal assets but also his international engagements,” she added.
'I worry that his fate will be the same as Khashoggi's': Australian Osama al-Hasani's wife fears his extradition to Saudi Arabia
The wife of an Australian citizen detained in Morocco over a Saudi Arabian extradition request says she is terrified her husband may end up tortured or killed if he is returned to the conservative Islamic kingdom. Osama al-Hasani, a former Melbourne imam and academic, was detained in Tangier on February 8, according to his Moroccan wife, Hana al-Hasani, and is due to face court tomorrow over the extradition request."I worry that his fate will be the same as Khashoggi's," Ms al-Hasani said, referring to the case of journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by Saudi operatives in 2018.
“I call on the government of Saudi Arabia to disclose whether his remains were destroyed onsite or how and where they were disposed. The individuals responsible know only too well the specifics and, in the face of the Saudis’ unconscionable silence, the international community must exert pressure for full disclosure of all the facts.”
Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the US government to re-evaluate its relations with Saudi Arabia.
“The United States government must re-evaluate and recalibrate the relationship with Saudi Arabia, given the findings of this report, which are part of a disturbing pattern of human rights abuses from the Kingdom,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“The United States Congress stands with President Biden in promoting transparency relating to human rights abuses and in supporting partnerships that advance our security, uphold our values and protect our interests. We support the steps being taken by the Administration to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, including related to Global Magnitsky and visa denials for human rights abusers.”
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff:
Democratic Congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said MBS had “blood on his hands”.
MBS Faces Criminal Complaint in Germany After Biden Let Him Off the Hook Over Khashoggi
A criminal case against Mohammed bin Salman and others in the Saudi hierarchy has been filed in a German court for the brutal 2018 murder, dismemberment and disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite the Kingdom’s denial of MBS’s direct involvement and the Biden administration’s flaccid response to the killing. The 500-page complaint filed by the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the first time a criminal case has been lodged outside of what was largely considered a show trial in Saudi Arabia.
“The Biden administration should explore ways to ensure the repercussions for the brutal murder of Mr Khashoggi go beyond those who carried it out, to the one who ordered it — the crown prince himself,” Schiff said.
“He has blood on his hands and that blood belonged to an American resident and journalist. The president should not meet with the Crown Prince, or talk with him, and the administration should consider sanctions on assets in the Saudi Public Investment Fund he controls that have any link to the crime.”
Democracy for the Arab World Now:
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the US-Based rights group founded by Khashoggi, thanked the Biden administration for “transparency” but urged for the imposition of sanctions on MBS.
“Thank you, Joe Biden, for transparency about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. Now we need sanctions on the Saudi prince responsible.”
The group’s Executive Director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement: “The DNI’s report today confirms what we have long known to be true: Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the execution of Jamal Khashoggi.
“President Biden should now fulfil his promise to hold MBS accountable for this murder by, at minimum, imposing the same sanctions on him as those imposed on his underling culprits and ending the weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia that would be controlled by an unelected, brutal murderer.”
She added: “The release of the DNI report is only a small part of the evidence we’re seeking from the US government about the murder of Khashoggi, including regarding US officials close to MBS who potentially facilitated a cover-up.”
Khashoggi’s fiancé Hatice Cengiz took to Twitter and posted using a hashtag. She wrote: “#justiceforjamal“.
Washington Post CEO:
Washington Post Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said: “Since the day this innocent journalist was brutally murdered, we have called for two important actions: for the facts to come to light and for accountability on the part of those responsible.
“Today’s release of the report has brought the facts to light. Now, the man who authorised this brutal murder must be held fully accountable for it.”
Khashoggi report ‘unlikely’ to change Saudi Arabia credit rating .
Recalibration of US-Saudi relations is unlikely to change Saudi’s sovereign rating, an S&P official told Reuters news.Saudi Arabia’s A- credit score, like all sovereign ratings, includes an assessment of its institutional setup. That element is currently graded a 4 in a 1-6 scoring system where 1 is the best and 6 the worst.