Manama: Russia has again warned against politicising the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that it had no reasons to doubt the ability of Saudi authorities to conduct a proper investigation.
“Moscow notes the course taken from the beginning by the Saudi side to conduct the most thorough and objective investigation of the incident, including the interaction with Turkish authorities,” a Russian Foreign Ministry official told Sputnik.
The official stressed that Russia saw “no reason to question the ability of the Saudi authorities to deal with this high-profile case at the proper professional level.”
US President Donald Trump said America will issue a “very full report” on the killing of Khashoggi by Tuesday, following media accounts the CIA had concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ordered the assassination of the US-based columnist.
Trump denied the CIA has made a judgement, saying on Saturday that the intelligence agency hasn’t “assessed anything yet. it’s too early. That was a very premature report.”
Moscow is convinced the politicisation of the issue is inadmissible, and such cases need to be resolved exclusively within the legal framework, the official said.
Saudi rejects ‘internationalisation’ of case
The Russian official made the statement on Friday, a day after the office of the Saudi public prosecution said that its investigation included 21 suspects detained in connection with the case, the 18 initially mentioned and three more later.
The prosecution said that 11 suspects were charged with the murder and demanded the death penalty for five of them.
On Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said Saudi Arabia had an effective judicial system and rejected the internationalisation of the Khashoggi case. He was responding to emerging calls to involve other countries or the UN in the investigation of the murder and to transfer the trial of the suspects to Istanbul.
A US report that claimed Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid Bin Salman Al Saud, had directed Khashoggi to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has been dismissed by the ambassador and the Saudi embassy spokeswoman as lacking credibility.
The report said that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intercepted the phone call from the ambassador to Khashoggi and used it among evidence that the Crown Prince had ordered the killing of the Saudi journalist in Istanbul.
Prince Khalid insisted he never called Khashoggi and challenged anyone who doubted his statement to prove him wrong.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US administration has not reached a final conclusion over the murder. “Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” she said.
“There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts. In the meantime, we will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Khashoggi was killed on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, when he reportedly walked in to retrieve documents he needed to marry a Turkish woman, Hatice (Khadija) Cengiz. She says she was his fiancée and that the two were planning to get married.