The Murder of Jamal Khashoggi & the Saudi Obstruction to Justice
The crime & the cover-up
Initially the Saudi government denied the death of Mr Jamal Khashoggi and claimed that he has left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul alive after getting his paperwork done. But after failing to sell this lie, the Saudi authority announced that Mr Khashoggi is dead. They also told a bizarre story that he died in a fight with the staff in the consulate and the dead-body was handed to a local man for the disposal! It beggars belief! When a man dies in a fight in a civilised state, is it not the duty to call the police to take the body, do the post-mortem and find the killers for the prosecution? But the Saudi authority didn’t take that route. Instead, they pursed the most horrendous path to hide the crime. Firstly, by making a wholesale denial of the murder. Secondly, by restricting the investigation of the crime and now, blocking the enforcement of the justice in the Turkish court.
With such a heinous objective, the Saudi consulate staff –as per premediated plan, quickly disposed the body on their own? The Saudi authority tells that the dead body was given to local man for the disposal. The question arises, Mr Khashoggi was a Saudi national, why his body should be given to a local man to make the body hidden from the public eyes? Moreover, is it the Islamic way of burial? Why the Saudi authority is not disclosing the name of local collaborator? If the local collaborator is known, it will easier to find the dead body and through light on the true nature of the crime. This is why, every murderer tries to hide the weapon of the crime and the dead body. The killers of Mr Khashoggi did that too.
The crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) –who has been alleged to engineer the murder, declared that the culprits responsible for killing Mr Jamal Khashoggi will be severely punished. But how? Without having the forensic evidence of crime on the dead body, how can they deliver the justice? In the name of prosecution, are they engineering another fraudulent cover-up? If the Saudi authority has an iota of true intention to deliver justice, why they are not telling the name of the local collaborator who disposed the dead body of Mr Jamal Khashoggi? Why they took 17 days to allow the Turkish investigation team to enter into the premise? Is it so difficult to tell the name of the local collaborator? Is it aimed to save the local collaborator or to save the real killer who sent 18 people to do the murder?
There are enough reasons to believe that the Saudi authority is obsessed with only one agenda. The kingdom’s tyrant clique decided to get rid of its critic Mr Jamal Khashoggi. They could achieve that aim only by committing a heinous crime on a foreign soil. Now, they are doing everything to cover up the crime. And that is very evident from day one of the crime. They are telling one big lie to cover up another lie. Only to obstruct the prosecution, they didn’t allow the Turkish investigation team for 17 days to enter the premise. They didn’t allow to enter into the consulate head’s house as per wish of the investigation team.
The obstruction to justice
The Saudi authority has intentionally added an international dimension to the crime. So, the prosecution no more remains as Saudi Kingdom’s internal matter. It is the matter of injured dignity of the Turkish government too. So Turkey has the moral, legal and the international obligation to prosecute the criminals in its own court –since its own law has been violated on its soil. So, President Erdogan has enough reasons to ask Saudi Arabia to hand over 18 people to Turkish authority. Since they were send to Turkey to commit the crime, then must be sent back to the same place to face the trial.
And now, the world leaders who want a fair prosecution have some binding obligations. Turkey can’t do that on its own. The Saudi authority has proven to be very obstructive to the investigation from day one. Now they have declared that the alleged murders will not be handed over to Turkey. Turkey can’t launch a war to get them back to the Turkish court, either. Since the crown prince himself is alleged to be the ring leader of the murder, he will never allow a transparent investigation. If the Saudi authority has no confidence in Turkish judiciary, they can argue for an international court to do that, but can’t avoid prosecution. The world leaders, the media and the international communities must press on that. Since the truth is coming out, the crown prince Mohammad bin Salman is also changing his narrative. He is now facing difficulties to sell the old lies. Because of that, the crown prince had to accept the truth that Mr Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate premise. But the story of heinous crime does not end there; he has to tell other unknown truths.
The Saudi authority is now trying to deflect the whole issue towards other directions. Summoning Mr Khashoggi’s eldest son to the court of King Salman and the crown prince Mohammad bin Salman and paying condolence to him is indeed a crude attempt to cover up the crime. Instead of condolence, was it not the first duty of the Saudi authority to hand over the dead body of Mr Khashoggi to the family? In order to give a full whitewash, the Saudi authority will definitely sanction huge punishment to some people. But such punishment will not be for the crime, but for committing the crime so badly and putting the Saudi Kingdom in the worst disrepute worldwide. Arrest of 18 employees by the Saudi authority who were sent to kill Mr Khashoggi is indeed the part of such whitewash. They are blamed as rogue elements committing the crime on their own without the knowledge of the king or the crown prince. Even a fool can recognise it another lie to cover up the premeditated murder.
While performing duties in an official premise, the government employees are allowed only to carry out the assigned official agenda. How could it happen that 18 government servants arrived at Saudi consulate in Istanbul in officially arranged planes to carry out their personal agenda? And that too, inside a government office? How such a horrendous murder could be committed by a gang of 18 people in front of the head of the consulate and the Saudi authority at the top couldn’t know? Why the CCTV of the consulate premise was switched off at the time of the crime? If it was not an execution of government agenda, why the consulate boss allowed that to happen in his office? Behind every act executed by the government employees, there always exists a superior authority to give the order. Hence, in any prosecution of a crime, it is the crucial issue not only to know the people who commit the crime, but also to know who gave the order and the motive behind it. Moreover, how could 18 government employees converge on a common private agenda to kill a high profile journalist who never did any harm to any one of them? It’s totally nonsensical. It is indeed a failed attempt to cover up a horrendous crime in an international arena.
The barbarity & the enmity against democracy
The Saudi tribal barbarity is creating terrible problem not only for Saudi Arabia, but also for the whole Middle East. They sponsored and financed the killing of democracy in Egypt and causing genocide and destruction in Yemen. The regime talks about reforms. But reform doesn’t come through massacring people. It is not about building cities, tourist resorts, roads, shopping malls and industries. It is about protecting the human lives and basic rights of the people. Provision of space for the common people for free expression of their views is the most important marker of such reform. But the Saudi rulers are no ready to give such space for their countrymen. Instead of reforms, the regime is promoting brutal barbarity. The cold blooded murder of Mr Khashoggi indeed gives testimony to that. And it shows how horribly these tyrant rulers dislike the basic human rights. In fact, the failure of Arab spring largely owes to such evil attitude of the Saudi regime; they consider such democratic wave threat to their own survival.
It came to the press that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is upset and angry with the worldwide backlash after Mr Khashoggi’s murder. The Saudi Foreign Minister Mr Adel al-Jubeir expressed his anger in Bahrain by telling that there runs a hysteria on his murder. There is a reason for such bizarre Saudi views. Since killing of Mr Khashoggi didn’t go well, so the ruling tyrants have turned angry, upset and panicky. They are not accustomed to listen such criticism. The ruling clique couldn’t think other countries different from Saudi police state where the king & the crown prince can kill any number of people without any backlash and accountability. Like the medieval tyrants, they have also deployed imams and sheikhs to cover up their crimes. Sheikh Sudaisi -the Imam of Ka’aba has proven himself as the suitable pawn to give a sermon against the international press that exposed the Saudi crime.
Now it is established that Mr Khashoggi has been killed and his body was not been given to the family. It is alleged that the body has been mutilated and disposed without any religious ritual. The Saudi King claims to be “khademul haramain” –the custodian of the two most holy mosques of Islam. But how such a crime fit in the standard of the care-taker of the holy sites? If a ruler fails to observe the basic tenets of Islam, how can work as the custodian of the holy mosques.
The obligation of the international bodies
Now the world bodies like UN, the international human rights organisations and the media that care about the minimum human rights like the survival rights of the people must come forward to demand for an independent and transparent prosecution of the crime. From the top to the bottom of the Saudi regime who took part in the crime must be brought to justice and must be ensured that none go unpunished. This is an international responsibility. The Saudi wealth must not be allowed to cover up this horrendous crime. The world leaders now face a litmus test. Whether they are mere economic animal having the preference only for Saudi petro-dollar or possess moral ingredients to enforce justice will be accurately tested now. Those who have morality must not allow lies, lust and the criminal motive to work together to cover up the murder of Mr Khashoggi.
Crime breeds crimes. If the crime of killing Khasoggi go unpunished, it will breed similar crimes –both inside and outside the kingdom. In fact, most of the Middle Eastern countries have already proven to be the fertile breeding ground of such crimes. So the General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt could kill more than twelve hundred innocent people in one night in Raba Al-Adabiaya Square on 14th August in 2013. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has killed more than 4 hundred thousand people and evicted more than 6 million. It can be rightly assumed that if the unarmed people of Saudi Arabia come to the street in protest against its autocratic ruler, the regime will not be less brutal than Bashar al-Assad. President Bashar has many strong critics living in foreign countries. But he didn’t make his consulate office a killing ground. Hitler didn’t do that either.
The club of killers is very huge in the Middle East. This is why, hardly any country of the Middle East has condemned the state-sponsored killing of Mr Khashoggi. Those who possess humanity, must show some moral audacity. In this regard, the failure of the Muslim leaders is huge. While the leaders of the non-Muslim countries – like the heads of European countries have stopped visiting Saudi Arabia and stopped shaking hands with them, the leaders of the Muslim countries still continue to embrace these alleged killers. It looks very ugly and awful that most of the Muslim rulers and leaders look compatible with this alleged murderer as the custodian of the holy land! 28.10.18