Geneva - Saudi Arabia told the United Nations on Monday it would prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate. Bandar Al Aiban, the head of the Saudi government delegation at the first UN review of the kingdom’s record in five years, heard calls from more than 40 nations, including the United States, for a thorough inquiry and a string of rights reforms.
He told the hearing that King Salman had instructed the Saudi public prosecutor to “proceed with the investigation into this case according to the applicable laws” with a view to establishing the facts and “bringing all the perpetrators to justice”.
“As regards the passing of citizen Khashoggi, our country is committed to carrying out a fair investigation and all persons involved with that crime will be prosecuted in the justice system,” Aiban said at the end of the half-day session.
Aiban, who is president of the official Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom was constantly striving to promote and protect human rights “driven by the honourable principles and provisions of Islamic sharia and the traditional values of our society.” Freedom of opinion and expression were guaranteed, but was limited by laws that protect the rights of others as well as the “prerequisites of national security and public order”, he said.
Women had seen a series of reforms over the last five years, Aiban added. Women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates in municipal councils and driving licenses have been issued to women since June.