Saudi Journalist Murdered in Turkey

Beverly Vaz - 2T Software Engineering
Posted on: October 31, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi – a journalist, author, and editor-in-chief of Saudi Arabia’s Al Arab News Channel – has been declared dead. His death has been ruled as premeditated murder.

What makes this instance of murder so interesting?

One, the lead suspects involve some of the top leaders of Saudi Arabia. Two, the murder took place at an embassy consulate in Turkey, bringing in the question: do the murderers have diplomatic immunity? Which country has legal jurisdiction over the scene of the crime, and, which country will oversee the investigation and trial?

For those of you who are lost about what’s happening, let me walk you through it. The entire story has had a lot of twists and turns. So, it’s important that we get all the facts we have as of now, straight.

On September 28, Jamal Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document that would certify his divorce from his ex-wife. He was asked to return later, so he went back to the consulate on the October 2. As per an article by the BBC[1], he had no apprehensions going back to the consulate as he had been treated well on his first visit.

However, he did ask his fiancé, who was waiting for him outside the consulate, to call an adviser to the Turkish President if he did not come out. He headed in at 13:14 local time and was never seen coming out.

For a little over two weeks since the events took place, the Saudi government consistently denied knowledge of anything of this sort happening. However, on the October 20, their state television reported that the journalist had been murdered in a rogue operation and promised to punish those behind it.

 Their version of the story is that Khashoggi was killed in a choke-hold when he resisted attempts to return to Saudi Arabia. His body was handed for disposal to a local aid. They also announced the arrest of eighteen Saudi nationals and the dismissal of two officials in connection with this.

A couple days later, the public prosecutor of Saudi Arabia was quoted saying that the murder was premeditated. This happened around the same time a joint Saudi-Turkish task force started investigating the matter.

Turkey, on the other hand, has a slightly different version; they say that a team of Saudi nationals had arrived in the country in the days preceding the murder and that care had been taken to remove security cameras and surveillance footage from the building prior to the journalist’s arrival. They claim to have audio and video evidence of what actually went down on October 2. Some other Turkish officials claim that he was killed within two hours of arriving at the consulate and that his body was later dismembered. They have video footage that shows some diplomatic vehicles entering the consulate at 12:13 on October 2. These same vehicles were seen leaving the consulate at 15:08 on the same day and entering the consul’s residence.

The Turkish police have seized samples from the consulate and the Saudi consul’s residence for DNA testing.

So far, there has been no sign of the body.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned this act and has decided to pressurize Riyadh by freezing a deal that would provide Saudi Arabia with armored vehicles. Germany too has decided to suspend the export of weaponry to Saudi Arabia. The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said “[the] killing of Jamal Khashoggi bear[s] the hallmark of an extrajudicial execution”. She further said “[W]e have enough right now to determine that the government of Saudi Arabia is responsible and is implicated.”[2]

As far as the jurisdiction of this case is considered, it does fall under Turkish authority. To quote an answer on Stack Exchange “if Turkey were to obtain custody of people it accused of doing the killing, and if those people were not accredited diplomats, it could try them under Turkish law.”[3]

But as there is much doubt in who exactly called the operation and who murdered Khashoggi, the probability of this happening is questionable.

 [1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45812399

[2] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/official-khashoggi-victim-extrajudicial-execution-181025195717558.html

[3] https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/32863/what-is-the-jurisdiction-of-the-khashoggi-murder-case

 

 

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Comment