- Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told Deutsche Welle, a German state-owned broadcasting company, that reports of Jamal Khashoggi's assassination being "authorized" by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are "ridiculous."
- "If Saudi Arabia was so bad, nobody would come," Al-Jubeir said of foreign investors flocking to the Kingdom.
- The 59-year-old Washington Post journalist, who was frequently critical of the Saudi government, was killed in October 2018 upon entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain the documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiancée.
- Pushed on UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard's report that linked apparently "forensically cleaned" crime scenes to "obstructing justice," al-Jubeir said, "Look at her record when it comes to Saudi Arabia for a number of years, and how disparaging and how negative she has been against Saudi Arabia."
- Al-Jubeir also believes that the Kingdom has made "great progress in terms of human rights" and urged human rights organizations and foreign governments to educate themselves better on its state of affairs.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
A Saudi minister has dismissed international uproar about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder, saying that reports of him being slain at the order of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and by the hands of his henchmen are preposterous.
"The idea that this was authorized is ridiculous," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told Deutsche Welle's Tim Sebastian during an appearance on "Conflict Zone."
To justify his comment, he cited the Kingdom's recently regained status among foreign investors, pointing out that "if Saudi Arabia was so bad, nobody would come."
Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, was frequently critical of the Saudi government. He was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, to get the documents necessary to marry Hatice Cengiz, his Turkish fiancée. His remains were never found.
The narrative of his death shifted in the following weeks and months. It was first said that he died in a fistfight in the consulate. Then, Turkish media reports said that 15 men dispatched by bin Salman's government reportedly beat, tortured, killed, and dismembered the 59-year-old Khashoggi.
Al-Jubeir himself appeared on Fox News in November and said Khashoggi's death was the result of a "rogue operation" that the prince had no advance notice of.
But Saudi prosecutors contradicted that information, saying the head of forensics for the Kingdom's national intelligence service had been ordered to abduct Khashoggi, but a "fight and quarrel" prompted him to kill the journalist via lethal injection. His body was dismembered and given to a local collaborator, they added.
Bin Salman then appeared on CBS News' "60 Minutes" and called Khashoggi's assassination "heinous" and "a mistake." He insisted, however, that he "absolutely [did] not" order Khashoggi's murder, but said he took "full responsibility" as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler.
A United Nations report into the killing, however, countered that explanation, stressing that it was "inconceivable" for a sophisticated plot involving high-ranking Saudi officials to be executed without bin Salman being in the know.
Pushed on this issue, al-Jubeir likened the widely reported crime to the stain of Abu Ghraib on the reputation of the United States, saying, like the American government, Saudi Arabia has conducted an investigation, held people accountable, and installed mechanisms to ensure such an incident never reoccurs. Eleven suspects are on trial, five of whom are facing the death penalty, he said. Identities of those charged have not been revealed.
Al-Jubeir furthered the case of Saudi Arabia's innocence by saying that President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo haven't assigned blame to bin Salman, although the Central Intelligence Agency believes the prince ordered the journalist to be killed.
"We don't have a history of murdering our citizens," he declared. "It was a mistake, people exceeded their authorities, and this happened."
Sebastian examined several other facets of the crime that captured the world's attention, including why Turkish investigators were given the green light to enter the Saudi consulate 10 days after bin Salman first said they could search the building.
"I understand that there are situations where countries have to agree on the mechanics and the modalities of how you want people to enter sovereign territory," al-Jubeir replied. "No country will allow another country full access to a diplomatic facility, that just doesn't happen."
When probed on UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard's report that linked apparently "forensically" cleaned crime scenes to "obstructing justice," al-Jubeir said she was not being fair and had used newspapers and leaked reports as sources, according to Deutsche Welle, a German state-owned broadcasting company.
"Look at her record when it comes to Saudi Arabia for a number of years, and how disparaging and how negative she has been against Saudi Arabia," he said.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
Al-Jubeir also took "exception" with the view shared by many human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, which in a recent report accused Saudi Arabia of "systematically [silencing] dissent."
"Saudi Arabia's made great progress in terms of human rights," including encouraging reform and empowering women and youth, according to al-Jubeir.
By his account, bin Salman "is the driving force behind change in Saudi Arabia," al-Jubeir said, adding, "The country is on a major path to reform and anybody who calls for reform is part of that process. Why would we have reforms in Saudi Arabia and then criticize people who call for reform?"
But it's not just organizations that have levied criticism at Saudi Arabia, Deutsche Welle said. Even European Parliament members told al-Jubeir in January, "
At a meeting in January with al-Jubeir, members of the European Parliament called out Riyadh for having "one of the worst [human rights records] in the world," stressing that if they were to consider the Kingdom as "an ally and a friend, then that has to change," Deutsche Welle reported.
But al-Jubeir said that his government "refuses to be patronized" and "does not accept people criticizing our legal system. We have not criticized the UK or France or Germany or Sweden."
If anything, al-Jubeir countered, experts are misinformed about Saudi Arabia.
"They need to be more educated," he said.
Watch the full video here:
Read the original article on Insider