Saudi Arabia Urged to Reveal About Disappearance of Journalist

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO
Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

Two weeks after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to reveal everything they know about the disappearance and possible extra-judicial killing of the prominent Saudi journalist after he visited his country’s consulate in Istanbul.

While welcoming the agreement that has allowed investigators to conduct an examination inside the consulate itself, and possibly also at the residence of the Saudi Arabian Consul-General in Istanbul, the UN Human Rights Chief urged the authorities of both countries “to ensure that no further obstacles are placed in the way of a prompt, thorough, effective, impartial and transparent investigation.”

“In view of the seriousness of the situation surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, I believe the inviolability or immunity of the relevant premises and officials bestowed by treaties such as the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations should be waived immediately,” Bachelet said.

“Under international law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing are very serious crimes, and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible. Two weeks is a very long time for the probable scene of a crime not to have been subjected to a full forensic investigation.”

“Given there seems to be clear evidence that Mr Khashoggi entered the Consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards,” she added.

The High Commissioner noted that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

As such, they are obliged to take all measures to prevent torture, enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations, to investigate allegations of acts constituting these crimes, and to bring to justice those suspected of committing them.

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Rakesh Raman