Saudi Arabia: Masterminds of murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi should be brought to justice


The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls on the United Nations in addition to governments with influence in Saudi Arabia, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, to take serious action in order to ensure that the top Saudi officials involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 02 October 2018 will be brought to justice.

On 23 December 2019, the Public Prosecutor in Saudi Arabia released a statement detailing the outcome of the official investigation into the murder of Khashoggi which included 31 people, 21 of whom were arrested, and 10 of whom were interrogated without arrest. The charges were only directed against 11 people (out of 31) who were brought before the Criminal Court in Riyadh, which issued its verdict of death sentences for five of them, while three were imprisoned for various periods totalling 24 years and the rest were exonerated, including two senior officials.

Following a six-month investigation into the murder, on 19 June 2019, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, published her findings in a report in which she concluded: “The circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s death have led to numerous theories and allegations, but none alters the responsibility of the Saudi Arabia State.”  She added: “His killing was the result of elaborate planning involving extensive coordination and significant human and financial resources. It was overseen, planned and endorsed by high-level officials. It was premeditated.”

GCHR condemns in the strongest terms the outcome of official investigations into the killing of Khashoggi and the sentences of the Criminal Court in Riyadh. The Saudi government neither co-operated with the reliable investigation of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, nor has it given access to international observers or the public to the trial, which lacked the minimum international standards of fair trial and due process.

GCHR calls on all international mechanisms including the UN system, and and governments that have influence in Saudi Arabia, in particular the US and UK, to:

  1. Take immediate action to ensure that an impartial, prompt, thorough, independent and effective international criminal investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is conducted with cooperation by the Saudi government; and
  2. Ensure that all perpetrators of the crime, including the top officials, are named and prosecuted in a fair and transparent trial that follows the international standards and due process.