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Jamal Khashoggi's murder planned, carried out by Saudi officials, United Nations finds

Jamal Khashoggi's murder planned, carried out by Saudi officials, United Nations finds

Ms Callamard said Saudi officials had "seriously undermined" and delayed Turkey's efforts to investigate the crime scene at its Istanbul consulate, where Khashoggi had gone to get papers needed for his wedding.

"Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by global standards for investigation", she added.

Callamard, reporting on a week-long mission with her team of three experts to Turkey, said that they had had access to part of "chilling and gruesome audio material" of Khashoggi's death obtained by the Turkish intelligence agency.

The rapporteur's final report is scheduled to be presented in June before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, but is expected to be published a few weeks earlier, in late May.

Khashoggi's murder has put the spotlight on Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of ordering the journalist's assassination.

It has arrested several senior Saudi officials, but the murder plunged the kingdom into one of its worst diplomatic crises.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the sheer brutality of it has brought irreversible tragedy to his loved ones", said Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions. His body has yet to be found.

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The kingdom has denied Mohammed had prior knowledge of the killing at a Saudi consulate in Turkey and said in January it would seek the death penalty for five people allegedly involved.

Citing a confidential report prepared for the Saudi public prosecutor by private USA security firm Kroll, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) previously reported that none of the WhatsApp messages exchanged between MBS and Qahtani on the day Khashoggi was killed concerned the journalist or his murder.

According to a report by The New York Times, American intelligence agencies intercepted a 2017 conversation between the crown prince and his aide which revealed bin Salman's frustration over Khashoggi's criticism of the Saudi government and his refusal to return to the kingdom from the US.

A UN-led inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has determined that the dissident journalist was the victim of a "brutal and premeditated killing" which was "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi Arabian officials. "It is also raising a number of worldwide implications which demand the urgent attention of the global community including the United Nations", she said.

Ms Callamard made her assessment on Thursday after visiting Turkey.

In the report, the rapporteur will present a series of recommendations, which are not binding.

The intelligence reports offer some of the most direct evidence of the role the crown prince may have played in Khashoggi's slaying, which sparked weeks of global outrage and protest.