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Khashoggi killing was a human rights violation by Saudi Arabia, US says

Murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi cited as Saudi rights abuse [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 March, 2019

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The annual US human rights report, issued by the State Department, said Jamal Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents while he was inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The US State Department labelled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder a human rights violation in a new report released on Wednesday.

The annual State Department report, which details rights abuses around the world, said The Washington Post columnist was killed by agents of the kingdom while he was inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year.

The report mentioned that the Saudi government "changed its story as facts came to light", after initially maintaining Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who many believe was behind the killing of the royal critic, was not named in relation to Khashoggi, US media reported.

Although the CIA has concluded the Crown Prince personally ordered Khashoggi's death, the Trump administration has avoided taking any serious action against its close Gulf ally.

The Saudis have denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had any involvement.

The US rights report noted that Saudi Arabia has indicted 11 suspects but hasn't provided details on the investigation or who may have directed the operation. Five officials were also dismissed in connection to the killing.

"America is not covering up for murder," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in February, pledging that the United States would take action to ensure those responsible for Khashoggi's death were held accountable.

Days earlier, the Trump administration provoked anger among lawmakers after it failed to turn in its report on the Khashoggi killing to Congress.

This is the first annual human rights report issued by the State Department since Pompeo became secretary of state.

"The policy of this Administration is to engage with other governments, regardless of their record, if doing so will further US interests," Pompeo wrote in a short preface to the report.

"At the same time, we recognize that US interests in the enduring stability, prosperity, and security of a world filled with strong, sovereign states will only be served if governments respect human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The report also identifies human rights abuses in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela.

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