UN human rights office blasts Khashoggi trial over transparency, accountability

UN human rights office blasts Khashoggi trial over transparency, accountability
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The United Nations’s human rights office on Tuesday criticized Saudi Arabia’s trial of eight men accused of killing The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying the process lacked transparency and accountability.

“This is [a] case where there has not been proper transparency in the justice process, those responsible should be prosecuted and given sentences commensurate with the crime,” U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday, according to Reuters. “There is a whole issue of transparency and accountability in the case.”

A Saudi court on Monday sentenced eight people to between seven and 20 years in the 2018 killing. Khashoggi’s family members have said they forgive the perpetrators and the death penalty was taken off the table.

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In 2019, two top aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were acquitted of involvement in the killing. The crown prince was widely suspected of having ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi royal family.

The association derailed efforts by the crown prince to present himself as a reformer who was liberalizing the kingdom’s policies on women’s rights and relations with Israel.

The crown prince has denied ordering the killing but told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell in 2019 that he takes “responsibility” for it.

"When a crime is committed against a Saudi citizen by officials, working for the Saudi government, as a leader I must take responsibility,” he said. “This was a mistake. And I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future.”

Though sentences have been issued for those involved in the case, a former Saudi intelligence official claimed in August that the crown prince attempted to have him killed in Canada days after Khashoggi was killed.

Saad Aljabri, who was an adviser to bin Salman’s cousin and political rival Mohammed bin Nayef, fled to Turkey in 2017 after the crown prince became the country’s de facto ruler.