The US intelligence agency has conclude in a new report that killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by a Saudi assassination squad operating under the command of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
An unclassified report released on Friday confirmed the role of a top US intelligence official trusted by Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler in the 2018 killing of Khashoggi.
“We consider that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to arrest or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” said the Office of the Director of US National Intelligence.
“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has absolute control over the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, so it is highly unlikely that Saudi officials would carry out such an operation without the Crown Prince’s permission.”
The 59-year-old is a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper which has criticized the Saudi government. He was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Saudi officials deny MBS had a role in the killing.
Here’s how the world reacted to the release of the four-page report.
Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
In a statement carried by the 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 relating to the leadership of the Kingdom, noting that the report contains inaccurate information and conclusions. “
The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Completely Refuses to Report Sent to the US Congress on the Murder of Saudi Citizen Jamal Khashoggi.https://t.co/DGfg4OAceT#SPAGOV pic.twitter.com/r5Skr7QRh1
– SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) 26 February 2021
United Arab Emirates:
The UAE defends Saudi Arabia’s position, the UAE state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
The UAE foreign ministry “expressed its confidence and support for the verdict of the Saudi court, which affirmed the kingdom’s commitment to implement the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and hold all involved in this case to account”, said WAM.
The British foreign office insists that Britain has always made it clear that “the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a terrible crime”.
In a statement, it said: “We call for a thorough, credible and transparent investigation to hold them accountable and impose sanctions on the 20 Saudis involved in the killing.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs raised this issue during his visit to Riyadh last year, and we continue to raise it in our engagement with the Saudi government.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said it had “taken note of” US intelligence reports, while also noting that the Saudi Arabian government had called Khashoggi’s murder a “disgusting crime”.
“The Saudi government further underlines that they are taking all possible measures in its legal system to ensure that the individuals responsible are investigated, punished and sentenced and justice is served. Pakistan acknowledges Saudi efforts in this regard and expresses solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, “the ministry said in a statement.
“Pakistan underlines adherence to the rule of law, respect for national sovereignty, and the protection and promotion of human rights by all countries, in accordance with the framework of the Constitution and their respective international obligations,” he added.
UN Human Rights Investigator Agnes Callamard:
In a Facebook post, Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the US must take the lead in ensuring accountability.
“With the release of the US report, which confirms the guilt of Saudi officials at the highest level, the United States must now take the lead in ensuring accountability for these crimes and to establish international mechanisms to prevent and punish such acts in the future. , ”Wrote Callamard.
“The United States government should impose sanctions on the Crown Prince, as it has done with other perpetrators – targeting his personal assets but also his international involvement,” he added.
“I asked the government of Saudi Arabia to reveal whether the bodies were destroyed on the spot or how and where they were dumped. Those in charge know very well the specifics and, in the face of the unreasonable Saudi silence, the international community must exert pressure for full disclosure of all the facts. “
US Democratic House of Representatives Chair:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urged the US government to re-evaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“The United States government must re-evaluate and recalibrate relations with Saudi Arabia in light of the findings of this report, which are part of a disturbing pattern of human rights violations from the Kingdom,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“The United States Congress supports President Biden in promoting transparency regarding human rights abuses and in supporting partnerships that advance our security, uphold our values and protect our interests. We support the steps taken by the Administration to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, including relating to the Global Magnitsky and denial of visas for human rights violators. “
This heinous incident is an insult to the rule of law & human rights. We have to re-evaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia. We stand w / @TOTUS in promoting transparency & supporting partnerships that advance our security, uphold our values & protect our interests.
– Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) 26 February 2021
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff:
Democratic Congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said MBS had “blood on his hands”.
“The Biden administration must find a way to ensure the impact of Khashoggi’s brutal murder goes beyond those who committed it, to the person who ordered it – the crown prince himself,” said Schiff.
“He has blood on his hands and it belongs to an American and a journalist. The president must not meet with the Crown Prince, or speak to him, and the government should consider sanctions on assets in the Saudi Public Investment Fund he controls that have links to the crime. “
Democratic Party Congressman Ilhan Omar
While he welcomes the intelligence report as a “long overdue honest report on the brutality and lawlessness” of MBS, Democratic Party congressman Ilhan Omar said there must be “immediate consequences” for the Saudi Crown Prince and plans to introduce a new bill that will work. . to impose sanctions on him.
“In the coming days, I plan to introduce a bill to impose sanctions on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his role in these and other human rights abuses,” he said in a statement. statement.
“The United States must consistently defend human rights and human dignity around the world – not just when it’s convenient.”
Democracy for the Arab World Today:
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the US-based rights group founded by Khashoggi, thanked the Biden government for “transparency” but pressed for the imposition of sanctions on MBS.
“Thank you, Joe Biden, for being transparent about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Now we need sanctions on the Saudi prince who is responsible. “
The group’s Executive Director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement: “Today’s DNI report confirms what we have long known to be true: Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the execution of Jamal Khashoggi.
“President Biden must now fulfill his promise to hold MBS accountable for this murder by, at the very least, imposing the same sanctions on him as those imposed on his subordinates and ending arms transfers to Saudi Arabia which will be controlled by the unelected, brutal ones. killer.”
He added: “The release of the DNI report is only a small part of the evidence we are seeking from the US government about Khashoggi’s murder, including regarding US officials close to MBS who could potentially facilitate the closure.”
Khashoggi’s fiancé, Hatice Cengiz, wrote on Twitter and posted using the hashtag. He wrote: “#justiceforjamal“.
– Hatice Cengiz / خديجة (@mercan_resifi) 26 February 2021
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 be exposed and to accountability on the part of those responsible.
“The report released today has revealed the facts. Now, the person who permitted this brutal murder must be held fully accountable for it. “