Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a senior aide he would go after Jamal Khashoggi “with a bullet” a year before the journalist was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, according to a US media report.
US intelligence understood that Mohammed, the kingdom’s 33-year-old de facto ruler, was ready to kill the journalist, although he might not have literally meant to shoot him, the New York Times reported.
After initially denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, the kingdom has acknowledged that a team killed him inside the diplomatic mission, but described it as a rogue operation that did not involve the crown prince.
The conversation was intercepted by US intelligence agencies, as part of routine efforts by the US National Security Agency and other agencies to capture and store the communications of global leaders, including allied ones, the newspaper reported.
However, it was only recently transcribed because of mounting efforts by US intelligence to find conclusive proof linking Prince Mohammed to the killing.
The conversation took place between the crown prince and an aide, Turki Aldakhil, in September 2017 — about 13 months before the killing, the paper said.
Prince Mohammed said that if Khashoggi could not be enticed to return to Saudi Arabia, then he should be brought back by force.
If neither method worked, then he would go after Khashoggi “with a bullet,” the paper reported.
The report came after a UN official looking into the case said that the Saudi Arabian government “seriously curtailed and undermined” the Turkish investigation into the murder of Khashoggi.
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard said that Khashoggi was the victim of a “brutal, premeditated killing planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia.”
He was lured into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on the promise of being given documents that would help him remarry. Inside he was suffocated and dismembered, a Turkish investigation said.
In a preliminary report, Callamard said that she had heard “parts of the chilling and gruesome audio material obtained and retained by the Turkish intelligence agency.”
Callamard said that Turkey’s efforts to carry out a proper investigation had “been seriously curtailed and undermined by Saudi Arabia.”
“Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation,” she said.
Callamard is to deliver a final report to the UN Human Rights Council in June.
On Thursday, she provided an assessment of her visit to Turkey from Monday last week to Sunday to pursue the investigation.
She said that Saudi Arabian killers had exploited diplomatic immunity to carry out the murder.
“Guarantees of immunity were never intended to facilitate the commission of a crime and exonerate its authors of their criminal responsibility or to conceal a violation of the right to life,” Callamard said. “The circumstances of the killing and the response by state representatives in its aftermath may be described as ‘immunity for impunity.’”
US intelligence chiefs have told the US Congress that the prince almost certainly ordered the killing or was aware of it, but US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said that the evidence is incomplete and investigations would continue.
Riyadh has denied that the Prince Mohammed was involved.
The Saudi Arabian public prosecutor has charged 11 men with the murder, saying last month that he would seek the death penalty for five.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists