'Credible evidence' linking Saudi crown prince to Khashoggi murder - UN report

The United Nations said in a report on Wednesday that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions  Agnes Callamard said there was credible evidence that high-level Saudi officials were implicated in what she said was a pre-meditated murder, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was killed by a 15-man Saudi squad sent from the kingdom. Saudi authorities say the men acted without authority and said 11 men have been indicted for the killing, but has not named them. The journalist’s body has not been found.

"Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law," said Callamard’s report, based on a six-month investigation.

Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in the murder of the former Washington Post contributor.

The UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include Saudi Arabia, is set to present the report on June 26.

"Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows (a) prima facie case that Mr Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia," said Callamard.

She also said that while her team could not find Khashoggi's remains, they had obtained access to part of "chilling and gruesome audio materials" obtained by Turkish authorities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said blame for the Saudi journalist's murder reached the top levels of the Saudi government.