UN rights envoy at Saudi consulate in Istanbul for Khashoggi
ISTANBUL (AP) — A United Nations human rights expert visited the vicinity of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul Tuesday as part of an investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She has yet to be allowed to enter the premises.
Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and her team of experts said they were waiting for permission from Saudi officials to go to the consulate and meet with Saudi authorities in Istanbul.
“We are respectfully calling on the authorities to give us access at some stage,” she said with regard to her weeklong visit to Turkey.
She said their request to enter the building had come “quite late” and that as a result “we need to give them a bit more time to process our request.”
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding. He was killed in what Turkish and U.S. officials have described as an elaborate plot.
Also Tuesday, Callamard met with Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor Irfan Fidan who is heading the investigation. The team met with the country’s foreign and justice ministers Monday.
Turkish officials have been frustrated over what they say is a lack of cooperation by Riyadh and have called for an international inquiry.
In a tweet, the Turkish president’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, welcomed the visit: “We still do not know where Khashoggi’s body is, who ordered the hit and who the ‘local collaborator’ was.”
After denying Khashoggi was killed in the consulate for several weeks, Saudi Arabia indicted 11 people in the killing, including members from the crown prince’s entourage, and is seeking the death penalty against five of them.
Turkey says Saudi Arabia must reveal the identity of a person who is thought to have disposed of the journalist’s body and hold all involved accountable.
The expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killing said she would present her report in June to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council and the report would be made public ahead of the meeting.