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'Not sufficient': United Nations on Saudi trial into Jamal Khashoggi killing

05 January 2019

The UN Human Rights Office said on Friday it could not assess the fairness of a trial taking place in Saudi Arabia related to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but that, in any case, it was "not sufficient".

All 11 accused were present with their lawyers at the opening hearing in the capital, according to a statement by Attorney General Saud al-Mujeb carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

They did acknowledge, though, that they had sent a letter to Turkey requesting evidence that Ankara has collected in the aftermath of the October 2 slaying of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

In response to a question about the Saudi prosecutor's demand for the suspects' death penalty, the OHCHR Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Friday that the office calls for an independent investigation "with global involvement".

Candles burn in a memorial to slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Mr Khashoggi, a prominent US-based critic of the Saudi government, was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October.

Fahrettin Altun, director of communications at the Turkish presidency, said in a statement that the worldwide community should seek justice for the slain journalist under global law after Riyadh reiterated that the suspects in the case would not be extradited for trial in Istanbul.

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Khashoggi's body, which is believed to have been dismembered and removed from the building, has never been found.

In turn, Turkish President Recep Erdogan has requested the suspects be extradited to Turkey.

Seven of those men are bodyguards of the kingdom's de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, who denies giving the order to kill Khashoggi.

The names of the 11 defendants have not been officially released. No date has been set for the next hearing.

The commission pointed out that arraigning the accused comes as yet a confirmation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's previous announcement that justice will take its course and that whoever has taken part in this crime will receive his the deterrent penalty.

The US Central Intelligence Agency has reportedly concluded that Prince Mohammed very likely ordered Mr Khashoggi's murder.

The prosecutor's office said ten other suspects were still under investigation. Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia has seen the arrest of business leaders, royals and activists while also recently granting women the right to drive.

'Not sufficient': United Nations on Saudi trial into Jamal Khashoggi killing