TEHRAN (defapress)- Saudi Arabia must name the defendants on trial for murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi and disclose all the charges against them, Turkey's Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said in a statement on Thursday.
News ID: 76211
Publish Date: 15March 2019 - 18:23
"We urge Saudi Arabia to tell the world which individuals are currently on trial on what charge(s)," Altun stated, to lay to rest any doubts that may arise about the "sincerity" of the judicial proceedings in the kingdom, Daily Sabah reported.
His comments came hours after the head of the Saudi human rights commission announced that the kingdom was bringing those accused of the murder to justice and rejected an international investigation into the case.
Three dozen countries, including Turkey, called on Saudi Arabia last week to cooperate with a UN-led investigation into the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the kingdom's rulership.
Expressing Ankara's deep concerns about Bandar bin Mohammad Al Aiban's objection to an international probe, Altun said they couldn't understand why a human rights official would refuse and be unsettled by efforts to bring the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's death to light, especially after a united global call.
"We would like to assume that Mr. Al Aiban's remarks reflected his personal views rather than the official position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – our friend and kin," the communications director noted.
He reiterated that it was a requirement of international law and order to bring to justice all murderers and instigators, adding that shedding light on the case will also help the kingdom safeguard its international reputation.
"Turkey will continue to serve the cause of justice until Jamal Khashoggi's body is found, the local collaborator(s) are identified, and those who ordered the hit are revealed," Altun concluded, once again emphasizing that the incident must be investigated "to the last detail" and "without being politicized".
Khashoggi was killed in the kingdom's Istanbul Consulate in early October 2018, by a team of 15 people consisting of Saudi officials who arrived in Turkey for his murder and a cover-up team also in charge of dismembering Khashoggi's body.
Aiban, speaking before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday, insisted that his country was taking all the "measures required for us to resolve this heinous crime".
He insisted that his country was "horrified by what has happened pursuant to this unfortunate accident".
He told the council that most of the recommendations Riyadh had received regarding how to pursue the Khashoggi case during the so-called Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November were already guaranteed by its constitution.
The suspects, he said, "were entitled to a fair trial... and none of their human rights have been violated, and they have been subjected to no form of torture or cruel and inhuman treatment", adding, "They are entitled to legal council, and they have also been informed of their rights to resort to the services of council during the investigation phase and during the trial."
Aiban stated that there had so far been three hearings, and that the accused and their lawyers had been present.
He also noted that "representatives of international organizations as well as NGOs and other stakeholders... were able to monitor and see how the court cases were unfolding", but did not specify which organizations had been permitted into the proceedings.
But he underlined that Saudi Arabia could not accept recommendations during the UPR for the country to allow international experts to participate in the investigation and to oversee the process.
"Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country... Such demands made upon us are tantamount to the international community doubting the integrity of our judicial apparatus and doubting the independence of our judiciary," he underscored.
On Thursday, a coalition of human rights and media freedom organizations urged members of Congress and the Donald Trump administration to take immediate action to determine who killed Khashoggi, Anadolu Agency reported.
Eleven groups led by Human Rights First sent a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee saying the leaders of the committee should hold hearings and issue subpoenas to force President Donald Trump to release more information on the killing.
“The American people have a right to know that their government supports foreign actors who order the pre-meditated murder of journalists and dissidents,” they said in the letter.
Last month, the Trump administration rejected a deadline to report to congressional leaders on who the US government assessed is responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
Trump declined to make the determination even though reports indicate that the CIA concluded with “high confidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was likely responsible.
Earlier this week, the State Department’s said in its annual report on human rights that the journalist was killed by "government agents" but steered clear of placing any blame on the crown prince.
Among the organizations calling for action were the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Justice Initiative, PEN America, the Project on Middle East Democracy and Reporters Without Borders.
“For Mr. Khashoggi’s sake, and for the sake of human rights defenders the world over, Congress cannot allow this misguided belief to stand. Because the Trump administration will not defend the rights of the persecuted to speak without fear of assassination, Congress must,” the letter added.
Ankara announced on Thursday that Interpol had issued red notices - asking police worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition - for 20 people regarding the killing of Khashoggi. The Justice Ministry noted that it had requested red notices for 18 people on November 15 and for two more on December 21. They were issued on March 1, according to Reuters.