Saudi account of writer’s death challenged

The late Jamal Khashoggi

The late Jamal Khashoggi

The UK, France and Germany have denounced writer Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, demanding urgent clarification from Saudi Arabia over his death.

A joint statement said the explanation that Mr Khashoggi died after a “fist fight” in the consulate in Istanbul needed “to be backed by facts to be considered credible”.

President Donald Trump earlier said he was “not satisfied” with the account.

And Turkey’s president on Sunday vowed to reveal the truth about the death.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would make a statement on the matter in parliament on Tuesday.

“We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth,” he told a rally in Istanbul.

 

Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2 to sort out divorce papers. Saudi Arabia initially said he had left shortly afterwards but has now admitted he died inside the building.

The UK, France and Germany expressed shock at the death, saying: “Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

They said they noted the Saudi explanation, but added: “There remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened… beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.”

The nations said they would not make a judgment until further explanation had been detailed.

They said: “We therefore ask for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly until responsibilities are clearly established and that there is proper accountability and due process for any crimes committed.”

On Saturday, Mr Trump said: “I’m not satisfied until we find the answer.”

But the US president said that, although sanctions were a possibility, halting an arms deal would “hurt us more than it would hurt them”.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin repeated that on Sunday, saying talk of sanctions was “premature”.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Saudi “explanations offered to date lack consistency and credibility” while Australian PM Scott Morrison said: “This cannot stand. This will not do.”

Amnesty International has called the Saudi explanation a whitewash of “an appalling assassination”.

The Washington Post, which published articles by Mr Khashoggi, said the Saudi government had “shamefully and repeatedly offered one lie after another”.

Yes, from a number of regional neighbours. -BBC

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