Oct 19, 2018 06:06 UTC
  • Leading rights groups urge Turkey to call for UN probe into Khashoggi case

Four leading human rights and press freedom groups have urged Turkey to call for a UN probe into the possible murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in order to prevent a cover-up of the alleged crime.

According to Press TV, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday that a probe established by UN Chief Antonio Guterres would shed light on the fate of the prominent dissident journalist and prevent a "whitewash". 

"Turkey should enlist the UN to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation," said Robert Mahoney, Deputy Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh."

Louis Charbonneau, UN Director at Human Rights Watch, said Khashoggi's family and the rest of the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him.

"Partial explanations and one-sided investigations by Saudi Arabia, which is suspected of involvement, aren't good enough. Only the UN has the credibility and independence required to expose the masterminds behind Khashoggi's enforced disappearance and to hold them to account."

However, British Ambassador Karen Pierce said the UN will only step in to investigate this case if it receives a request, adding it is unlikely that the Saudi government will take such a step.

Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Media reports citing Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents within minutes of entering the consulate and that his body was dismembered.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the US bears a "certain responsibility" for the fate of Khashoggi.

"As far as I know, the journalist that disappeared lived in the US. In this sense, of course, the US holds a certain responsibility over what happened to him," Putin told the Valdai Discussion Club in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

While Saudi Arabia is globally under fire for its alleged role in the possible assassination, US President Donald Trump has tried to whitewash Riyadh's possible role by suggesting that "rogue killers" may have carried out the crime.

The Trump administration on Thursday gave Saudi Arabia more time to investigate the journalist's fate. The decision was made after Trump met for less than an hour with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who gave the president an update on his talks this week with Saudi and Turkish officials about the Khashoggi case.