A United Nations report has unearthed that murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi was drugged with a sedative and suffocated with a plastic bag.
The UN investigation has also found there is ‘credible evidence’ that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, could be liable for the killing on October 2 last year.
A UN special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, has called for a probe into whether the ‘threshold of criminal responsibility has been met’.
In a 99-page report, Callamard said experts found it ‘inconceivable’ that a sophisticated 15-man mission to kill Khashoggi could have happened without Prince Mohammed’s knowledge.
She said the prince could be held responsible under international law even if there was no ‘smoking gun’ linking him to the crime.
An audio recording of Khashoggi’s final moments apparently reveals how his killers discussed cutting his body into pieces, before accosting the dissident writer who died amid ‘sounds of a struggle’ at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Calling for sanctions on the prince’s ‘personal assets’, she said other high-level Saudi officials should also face a probe.
Turkey immediately welcomed the findings but Saudi Arabia foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir dismissed the report, saying it contained ‘clear contradictions and baseless allegations’.
According to the report, Khashoggi was met by someone he knew at the Saudi consulate before he was taken to the second floor.
There, he was accosted by the suspects who pretended they were carrying out an Interpol order to take him back to Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi protested and claimed a driver and his wife were waiting for him outside.
There were ‘sounds of a struggle’ during which the suspects were heard saying ‘keep pushing’ and ‘did he sleep?’.
After that, there was ‘heavy panting’ while Khashoggi’s body was apparently dismembered.
Assessments of the recordings by intelligence officers in Turkey and other countries, Callamard said, suggest that Khashoggi could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag.
The report states Khashoggi’s death was an ‘extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible’.