Republican senators are being called out for publicly stating there will be no impartial trial of President Trump after he was impeached in the House. At the same time, the White House has apparently given Saudi Arabia a stamp of approval on what journalists around the globe are calling a “mockery of justice” trial for murdered American resident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. He had written about human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and was killed for it.
Five people have been sentenced to death in connection with Khashoggi’s brutal killing and dismemberment in the consulate in Turkey. The Washington Post journalist, who was critical of the kingdom, wanted to be married and went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, to pick up documents. Instead, he was ambushed and murdered, and his body remains missing.
Fifteen Saudi agents flew to Turkey to meet with the journalist, including a forensic doctor allegedly equipped with a bone saw, according to Turkish officials. The team has been called a “15-man hit squad” that arrived to kill the journalist and included a body double who looked like the journalist according to former Saudi Ambassador Robert Jordan. (see video below)
“This was absolutely premeditated and it could not occur without the full knowledge and consent and direction of the crown prince, as well as several others who have now been let off the hook,” said Jordan in an MSNBC interview.
Unfortunately for the “hit squad,” the consulate was apparently bugged, and audio was reportedly shared with the C.I.A. and the U.N. special rapporteur, Agnès Callamard. On the recording, the doctor was reportedly overheard explaining to the agents how Jamal’s body would be removed.
“Not to worry, the doctor said. ‘Joints will be separated. It is not a problem,” he said in the audio. “If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.'”
According to AP News:
“Amnesty International pronounced the outcome a ‘whitewash.’ Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations, condemned the trial as a ‘mockery of justice,’ saying, ‘The fact that that the chain of command and the state have not been investigated means that the system that made it possible for Jamal Khashoggi to be killed has not been touched.'”
“The decision is too unlawful to be acceptable,” Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said in a text message to The Associated Press. “It is unacceptable.”
Although five people could face public beheading for Khashoggi’s murder, Congress has stated it believes Prince Mohammed is “responsible for the murder.” The C.I.A. and other western intelligence agencies believe the same, The Guardian reports.
See Callamard from The Guardian below:
Although it appears that justice will never be served in the journalist’s killing, the White House responded with support for the Saudis.
CNN Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta tweeted:
“Senior Trump admin official responds to Saudi verdicts in Khashoggi case: ‘This is an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable, and we encourage Saudi Arabia to continue with a fair and transparent judicial process.'”
Ukrainian-American journalist, Adam Parkhomenko responded to Acosta’s comment, stating:
“The White House is helping the Saudi government cover up the murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post reporter.”
The White House is helping the Saudi government cover up the murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post reporter. https://t.co/gaGQ8DWnjl
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) December 23, 2019
Senator Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, reacted on Twitter, saying this unofficial statement seems to have been effectively written by the Saudis, not the US government.
The Saudis held the trial in secret, didn’t hold responsible the people who oversaw it, and aren’t even disclosing the people they are executing.
But Trump calls it a “fair and transparent process” in a statement effectively written by the Saudis. https://t.co/ZBRqNA0MOY
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 24, 2019
In addition, The Washington Post condemned the verdict and later reported:
“We still don’t have the answers on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder” in an Op-ed post by David Ignatius.
“The Saudis may have hoped to bring down the curtain with Monday’s death sentences for five unnamed defendants. But to critics, the findings were a continuation of the denial that began the day the Post contributor was killed. They were also a poke in the eye for the United States, which for more than a year has been privately pressing the crown prince for accountability and an acknowledgment of Qahtani’s role,” wrote Ignatius.
Opinion: We still don’t have answers on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder https://t.co/lED0TCSgiX
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 24, 2019
More from MSNBC:
Featured image: Justice for Jamal: The United States and Saudi Arabia One Year After the Khashoggi Murder by POMED via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)