The United Nations Secretary-General has reiterated the importance of an independent and impartial investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s murder case, in order to ensure a complete human rights violation investigation and to equally ensure that the masterminds are brought to justice.
The Spokesperson for the United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric, said those behind his killing must answer for their actions, in response to a question about Riyadh Prosecutor’s verdict on Monday on the Saudi journalist’s assassination case.
Sources say out of the eleven people charged in the case, five have been sentenced to death, three have received prison terms of 24 years, and three have been acquitted.
“In principle,” the United Nations opposes the death penalty, Dujarric said.
“The Secretary-General also reiterates that the United Nations is committed to guarantee freedom of expression and the protection of journalists,” the spokesman of the Secretary-General added.
Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced five people to death and three to jail over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but Agnes Callamard U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial accused it of making a “mockery” of justice by allowing the masterminds of last year’s killing to go free.
“These verdicts are the antithesis of justice: the hit men are sentenced to death, potentially permanently silencing key witnesses, but the apparent masterminds walk free — barely touched by the investigation and trial,” Callamard said.
“This is exactly what impunity looks like, and it must be denounced. Anyone who cares about freedom of the press — governments, as well as members of the public — must denounce this travesty until an actual impartial investigation holds those at the highest level responsible,” she added.
A Saudi court rejected the findings of a U.N. inquiry by ruling that the killing was not premeditated, but carried out “at the spur of the moment”.