Geneva - A top Saudi diplomat lashed out Tuesday at an independent UN expert’s report alleging that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it was based on “prejudice and pre-fabricated ideas.”
In what amounted to a face-off at the UN’s top human rights body, Ambassador Abdul Aziz Al Wasil insisted that special rapporteur Agnes Callamard had failed to follow proper procedures and used flawed sourcing in her 101-page report made public last week.
“Accusations have been launched, and fingers have been pointed - (she is) supporting herself on non-credible articles or sources,” he told the Human Rights Council, in Arabic through a UN interpreter.
Callamard said the Saudi trial of suspects in the murder should be suspended because it fails to meet procedural standards.
The Saudi ambassador rejected that.
“This is something that is set against Saudi Arabia, it’s based on prejudice and pre-fabricated ideas,” he said. “This is why we reject any attempt to remove this from our national justice system in Saudi Arabia.”
Russia’s representative, Yaroslav Eremin, questioned the focus on journalists, dissenters and others, wondering aloud if the lives of regular citizens were “less valuable.” Yousuf Abdul Karim Bucheeri of Bahrain said Saudi Arabia had shown “full transparency from the outset.”