Saudis 'seriously undermined' Turkey's Khashoggi inquiry, says United Nations expert

Modi with Mohhamed bin Salman

But Callamard's team had access to "crucial information" about the journalist's murder, including excerpts from an audio recording, described as "chilling and gruesome", in the hands of the Turkish secret service.

Special UN rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, said Thursday after a visit to Turkey that the killing of Khashoggi, who had written critical pieces on Saudi Arabia in The Washington Post, had been "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi officials.

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.

Almost four months on, Khashoggi's body has not been recovered.

United Nations special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard issued a statement in Geneva saying her mission to Turkey, from January 28 to February 3, with a team of three experts "could not firmly establish whether the original intention was to abduct Mr Khashoggi, with his murder planned only in the eventuality of this abduction failing".

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives for the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 9, 2018.

She expressed "major concerns" about the fairness of proceedings for 11 people facing trial in the kingdom over Khashoggi's murder.

She added that it was "unconscionable" that Saudi authorities continued to fail to disclose the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains "after having admitted that he met his death within their custody in their consular premises".

The bill would also require sanctions against any Saudis involved in Khashoggi's killing and require State Department reports on human rights in the kingdom and in the conduct of its war in Yemen.

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U.S. intelligence agencies believe Crown Prince Mohammed ordered Mr Khashoggi's killing, but Donald Trump has rejected the claim.

"It is also raising a number of worldwide implications which demand the urgent attention of the global community, including the United Nations".

Delayed access to the consulate and residence and "clean up of the crimes scenes", had severely limited the potential for the Turkish criminal forensic investigation to "produce telling evidence", Ms. Callamard added.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the sheer brutality of it has brought irreversible tragedy to his loved ones".

Saudi Arabia has denied Turkey's request for extradition of the 11 suspects, amid conflicting claims for jurisdiction, Ms. Callamard said.

The Saudi government has also disputed the Central Intelligence Agency assessment's that MBS ordered the killing.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Riyadh was trying to contest an element of a Central Intelligence Agency assessment that concluded Prince Mohammed likely ordered the killing.

Central Intelligence Agency officials had determined in November that Mohammed likely ordered the journalist's assassination, based on "an understanding of how Saudi Arabia works".

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