Court exonerates crown prince’s inner circle of involvement in murder of dissident journalist
Saud al-Qahtani: who is fixer cleared by Saudis over Khashoggi murder?
A commemoration event for Jamal Khashoggion 11 November 2018. Five people were sentenced to death for his murder, but two top aides to the powerful crown prince were exonerated. Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP via Getty Images
A commemoration event for Jamal Khashoggi on 11 November 2018. Five people were sentenced to death for his murder, but two top aides to the powerful crown prince were exonerated. Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP via Getty Images
ARE the 8 convicted killers of Jamal Khashoggi among those captured on video stills (above) during the infamous operation at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey?
Rabat – Saudi public prosecutor Shaalan al Shaalan has announced the sentencing of five people to death for their involvement in the murder of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018///
A statement from the prosecutor said that the five men “who directly took part in the killing.”
Al Jazeera reported that prosecutors found the deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al Assiri, guilty of overseeing the killing of the journalist in Istanbul.
Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal adviser, had reportedly “advised” the deputy intelligence chief, but Saudi Arabia says there was not enough evidence to convict him.
Al Assiri “was charged but eventually acquitted on the same grounds,” Al Jazeera added.
The Saudi consul general in Istanbul was also acquitted and released.
Saudi Arabia arrested 11 other unnamed people for involvement in the killing. Out of the 11, the court sentenced three to prison sentences totalling 24 years.
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The three other suspects were “acquitted,” Al Jazeera commented.
The trial was held secretly, with only some diplomats from Saudi Arabia and Turkey attending.
Saudi Arabia also allowed members of Khashoggi’s family to attend the trial.
The Khashoggi murder shocked the world last year, and international intelligence agencies pointed at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the instigator.
Rights groups have long condemned Saudi oppression of activists speaking out in opposition to its policies.
Human Rights Watch issued a report in 2019 slamming Saudi Arabia for its continued oppression of activists, clerics, and women.
HRW found that Saudi Arabia arrested approximately 70 people in September 2017.
The report also commented on the Khashoggi case.
“Around April 4, 2019, despite continuing international criticism stemming from the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Arabia carried out a new round of arrests, this time targeting 13 writers and activists,” HRW wrote.
The NGO also asked Saudi Arabia to publicize information about the trial.
Saudi Arabia’s royal family has distanced itself from the Khashoggi murder.
Surprisingly, bin Salman claimed responsibility for the killing, saying that the execution operation happened under his watch.
“It happened under my watch. I get all the responsibility because it happened under my watch,” MBS told PBS’ Martin Smith for a documentary.
Bin Salman, however, denied having prior knowledge of the plot.
In October, reports quoted alleged recordings of the perpetrators of the murder.
The conversation documents a talk between Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb and Salah Muhammed Al Tubaigy, two people allegedly involved in the killing of Khashoggi.
During the conversation, Mutreb asked Al Tubaigy if a bag would fit the body.
“No. Too heavy, very tall too,” Al Tubaigy answered.
He added, “I’ve always worked on cadavers. I know how to cut very well. I have never worked on a warm body though, but I’ll also manage that easily. I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers.”
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has attacked Donald Trump as “disrespectful and wrong” over his extraordinary outburst at Theresa May.
The US President fired off a series of explosive tweets, some of which were aimed at the prime minister, after leaked messages to the UK government by Britain’s US ambassador Sir Kim Darroch suggested his administration was “dysfunctional”.
He also launched a personal attack on May over Brexit, accusing her of ignoring his advice and “going her own foolish way”.
Tory leadership contender Hunt has now waded into the extraordinary row, warning the president that “allies need to treat each other with respect”.
He called Trump’s comments about May “disrespectful and wrong” and pointed out that US ambassadors to Britain “give their private opinions” to his administration also.
Trump’s latest intervention came as the cabinet reiterated its full support for Darroch following the leak of a series of diplomatic dispatches in which he branded the US administration as “inept”.
Trump said: “The wacky ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy.
“He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled.
“I told Theresa May how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way – was unable to get it done. A disaster!
“I don’t know the ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.
“Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger.
“Thank you, Mr President!”
The war of words comes as the two candidates prepare to debate one another on ITV at 8pm.
While the prime minister again denounced the leak of Darroch’s dispatches as “unacceptable”, she stressed it was important ambassadors were able to provide “honest, unvarnished” advice to ministers.
“She said we had made clear to the US how unfortunate that this leak is and that the extracts were selective and do not reflect the closeness of our relationship,” the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
“The prime minister said that at the same time – while the views expressed in the documents are not necessarily the views of ministers or the government, it is hugely important that ambassadors are able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country.
“She said therefore it is absolutely right that we continue to give Sir Kim Darroch our full support.
“The ambassador remains in post and continues to carry out his duties with the full support of the PM.”
The Foreign Office, which originally described the leak as “mischievous”, launched a formal leak inquiry on Sunday.
In the memos, obtained by The Mail On Sunday, Darroch suggested that in order to communicate with the president “you need to make your points simple, even blunt”.
In a scathing assessment of the White House, he said: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”
Eyes and ears of the countries they represent, not host country.
Representation at diplomatic level:
Cultural exchange programmes
Trade and commerce
Welfare of Nationals in the hosting country
Embassies are supposed to be home away from home to nationals of the sending country. Once one enters their Diplomatic Mission, they literally have entered their country. For example; the murdered Washington Post Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey; where he never came out. Ironically the Saudi Embassy would have been expected to look after the welfare of their nationals; security and all. But alas; they assassinated him.
Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in March 2018
Khashoggi had entered the consulate in order to obtain documents related to the marriage he and his fiancée were planning. Because no security camera footage of him exiting the building could be found, he was declared a missing person amid news reports claiming that he had been assassinated and dismembered inside the consulate. When the disappearance of Khashoggi was first reported by the news media, Saudi Arabia claimed he had left the consulate and denied having any knowledge about his fate. Turkish media published evidence suggesting that Khashoggi never came out of the consulate. Saudi Arabia subsequently denied any involvement in his disappearance
Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson should know far better than anyone else to not be coy on his understanding of Sir Kim Darroch’s former role as British Ambassador to the United States.
“I don’t necessarily think it was the right thing for him to do,” Johnson added.
The former foreign minister and London mayor refused to say whether he would keep Darroch in his post, calling the question “presumptuous” and noting the ambassador is scheduled to retire by the end of the year.
“I have got a good relationship with the White House and I have no embarrassment in saying that,” he said.
“I think it’s very important that we have a strong relationship with our most important ally. The United States is, has been, will be and for the foreseeable future our number one political military friend.”
“I think there is a chance to do things differently, a chance to break away from the failed old can-kicking approaching. Now is the time to really get a grip on this. Stop being so defeatist in our approach to the EU negotiations and maybe be a lot more positive about our country and what it can do.”
President Donald Trump told reporters that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is doing a “spectacular job,” and repeatedly refused to say whether he would talk to the Saudi leader about the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
It’s been seven months since Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and dissident, was brutally murdered inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul. His dismembered body has still not been found. The Saudi Royal Family remains the chief suspect.
Yet for globetrotting capitalists in search of opportunity in Riyadh, it’s back to business as usual.
BlackRock founder, Larry Fink, recently told The New York Timeshe wants to engage the Saudis rather than shun them for whatever internal troubles led to the killing of a respected member of the press and columnist for The Washington Post. Other companies, including Google, Softbank, and HSBC, are also planning business ventures with the Saudis, The Times reported.
On World Press Freedom Day, as more than 250 journalists around the world languish in jails in places such as Turkey, China, and Egypt and hundreds of others risk their lives daily to bring truth to their readers, it’s important to stand up and call this what it is: naked and unabashed greed at the expense of justice.
Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Jan. 29, 2011, in Davos, Switzerland.
David Callaway is president of the World Editors Forum and former editor in chief of USA TODAY. Follow him on Twitter: @dcallaway