Saudi Arabia 'curtailed' Jamal Khashoggi murder probe - United Nations expert
10 February, 2019, 08:39 | Author: Emmett Rice
The official asked not to be identified discussing the matter because of its sensitivity.
The State Department said Thursday Washington had already taken action, pointing to last year's revocation of visas for almost two dozen Saudi officials and the freezing of assets of 17 others.
Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. That deadline passed on Friday.
The White House signaled on Friday that it has yet to make a decision on imposing sanctions on those responsible for the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist.
The communications were analysed after United States intelligence agencies searched through bin Salman's texts and calls, which - according to The Times - is a routine procedure.
"There was no order given to conduct this operation", minister of state for foreign affairs Adel Al Jubeir told reporters at the end of a visit to Washington on Friday. "I don't know if he is still alive or that he is not alive", he said.
After denying that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate for several weeks, Saudi Arabia indicted 11 people in the killing and is seeking the death penalty against five of them. "There is no need for taking steps like this because. we are doing what we need to do in terms of acknowledging the mistake, investigating, charging and holding people accountable", he said.
But the effort has been mired in the fallout of the Kingdom's October 2 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Al-Jubeir said he wanted Congress to let the Saudi legal process conclude before taking any action on sanctions. "But don't judge us before this is complete".
Those comments were made in 2017, well before Khashoggi was killed last October in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Times said, citing current and former USA and foreign officials knowledgeable about intelligence reports. If neither of those methods worked, then he would go after Mr. Khashoggi "with a bullet", he said.
The kingdom disputed a Central Intelligence Agency finding, reported by several news organizations, that the crown prince directed the murder.
With pressure mounting in Washington and Riyadh, the United States president theoretically had until the end of the day to designate those responsible for the murder of the Washington Post columnist, who was strangled and dismembered by Saudi agents in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Representatives for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, the CIA and the National Security Agency did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on the Times story.
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