Saudis held 3 court sessions on ‘heinous’ Khashoggi killing

GENEVA (AP) — The head of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission said Thursday that judicial authorities in the oil-rich kingdom have held three court sessions over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing it as an “unfortunate accident” and a “heinous crime.”

Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban replied simply that the case was “in the courts” in Saudi Arabia when asked by a reporter to respond to calls that the kingdom accept international support in investigating the killing.

Al-Aiban spoke as the 47-member Human Rights Council conducted a regular review of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, a periodic process faced by all U.N. member states.

“We are indeed horrified by what has happened pursuant to this unfortunate accident and we have taken those measures required for us to resolve this heinous crime,” Al-Aiban said of the Khashoggi killing in Arabic, a translation of which was provided by the United Nations. “Peace be with his soul.”

Al-Aiban said his country “refutes completely” calls for parts of the legal process to be “internationalized,” saying such demands cast doubt on the integrity of the Saudi judicial system.

Under the Universal Periodic Review process, the “concerned” country receives recommendations from fellow states in the Human Rights Council about how to improve their human rights situations — and can decide whether or not to accept them.

Matthew Forman, a political counsellor for the British mission in Geneva, said his country was “disappointed” that Saudi Arabia did not fully accept its recommendation on the use of a “specialized criminal court.”

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