Jan 29 2019

UN Khashoggi investigator denied entry to Saudi consulate


The United Nations’ special rapporteur leading an inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was denied entry on Tuesday to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where the Saudi journalist was killed in October.  

"It's a scandal," ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Ömer Çelik said after the incident, according to the Hürriyet newspaper. "An international investigation should be launched.”

UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, Agnes Callamard, had requested access to the Saudi consulate on Sunday, upon her arrival in Istanbul. She had also requested a visit to the kingdom to meet officials there. On Monday she met Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to discuss the case.

“We welcome @AgnesCallamard's visit to Turkey in relation to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” Fahrettin Altun, spokesman for the Turkish Presidency, tweeted. “We still do not know where Khashoggi's body is, who ordered the hit and who the local collaborator was. Justice must be served.”

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi royal family, was last seen entering the consulate on Oct. 2. Turkish officials have told news outlets that a team of Saudi agents working under the orders of the royal family murdered and dismembered him before transporting the body out of the country.

The Saudi authorities arrested 18 Saudis related to Khashoggi’s murder and five top Saudi officials were fired, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s adviser.

Turkey has called for an international inquiry and urged Saudi Arabia to extradite suspects connected to the murder of Khashoggi, saying the journalist had been killed on Turkish soil. The Saudi authorities have declined Ankara’s requests.

The murder of Khashoggi has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which has imprisoned dozens of journalists. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated over the past 18 months after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sided with Qatar in its dispute with Saudi-led Gulf states.