Saudi Arabia's narrative of Khashoggi's murder sparks international skepticism
Story Code : 757175
Several countries and officials have criticized Riyadh's account of Khashoggi's death and demanded greater clarity regarding the case.
The backlash came after Saudi Arabia admitted that the critic had died at the hands of its officials after "discussions" at Riyadh's mission in Istanbul turned into "a brawl and a fist fight." It followed Saudi Arabia's denial for two weeks of its role in Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2.
On Saturday, Canada denounced the inconsistent Saudi narrative of the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist, calling for a "thorough" probe into the case.
"Canada condemns the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed took place in its consulate in Istanbul," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement. "The explanations offered to date lack consistency and credibility."
She also underlined the need for "a thorough investigation, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr Khashoggi's death."
The top Canadian diplomat further stressed that those responsible for Khashoggi's death "must be held to account and must face justice."
Similarly, the EU foreign policy chief called for a "credible" investigation into the journalist's murder, noting that the incident breaches international conventions.
“The emerging circumstances of Jamal Khashoggi’s death are deeply troubling, including the shocking violation of the 1963 Vienna convention on consular relations,” Federica Mogherini said.
“Therefore the European Union, like its partners, insists on the need for continued thorough, credible and transparent investigation, shedding proper clarity on the circumstances of the killing and ensuring full accountability of all those responsible for it.”
Separately, Berlin demanded “transparency” from Riyadh concerning the killing of Khashoggi.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, issued a joint statement, saying “the information provided about the sequence of events in the consulate in Istanbul isn’t sufficient.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also complained that many “unanswered” questions about Khashoggi's death "require exhaustive and diligent investigation."
Furthermore, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison deplored the incident, saying, "We expect the Saudi government to cooperate fully with Turkish authorities regarding the investigation of this matter.”
The spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party said Ankara would “uncover what has happened” to the Saudi journalist.
"Nobody should ever doubt about it. We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything to remain covered up," Omer Celik said.
Saudi officials have denied Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's involvement in Khashoggi's murder, but reports says several of a 15-person Saudi team suspected of having killed the Washington Post columnist were from bin Salman's personal security staff.
Audio recordings from within the consulate have suggested that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered with a bone saw.
Participants skip Riyadh conference
As furor mounts over Khashoggi's death, more participants pull out of the Future Investment Initiative conference slated for October 23-25 in Riyadh.
New Zealand is the latest to cancel its participation in the summit, dubbed “Davos in the Desert.”
New Zealand's Trade Minister David Parker said in a statement that no officials from his country would attend the event.
Washington unlikely to halt deals with Riyadh
However, Lawrence Davidson, professor at the West Chester University, said American lawmakers would not cancel contracts with Riyadh over Khashoggi's murder.
"They are so tied up with us that they can’t be shaken loose. This whole morality is political posturing on the part of the Congress, because there is no one in there who would do away with this," he said.
He further predicted that US President Donald Trump "will cover for the Saudis and the crown prince, whose type of personality - the top guy’s personality - that he favors."