An independent United Nations investigator says Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of an “extrajudicial execution” carried out by the Saudi state.
Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told reporters at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday that the people who committed and orchestrated the killing “are high enough to represent the state”.
Saudi Arabia has detained 18 people and dismissed five senior government officials as part of an investigation into Khashoggi’s murder. Some were members of a 15-man hit team, many of them Saudi intelligence operatives, who flew into Istanbul hours before Khashoggi’s death, Turkish security sources have said.
On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the killing in the strongest terms possible during a phone call with Saudi King Salman and vowed to take appropriate measures.
“The chancellor urged Saudi Arabia to ensure a rapid, transparent and credible investigation. She stressed that all those responsible must be held accountable,” a statement from her office read.
King Salman also spoke to Vladimir Putin on Thursday, telling the Russian president that the Saudi government was determined to hold the guilty parties accountable and to make sure “they receive their punishment”.