Jamal Khashoggi's killing was 'extrajudicial execution': United Nations expert

A Saudi participant walks in front of a banner for the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh Oct. 24 2018

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist who had criticized policies of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been self-exiled in the United States for about a year.

Saudi Arabia is the linchpin of a US-backed regional bloc against growing Iranian influence in the Middle East, but the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul on October 2 has prompted a global outcry and strained Riyadh's ties with the West.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday that the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi undermined Middle Eastern stability and that Washington would take additional measures against those responsible.

"Those who are behind this crime will be brought to justice ... in the end, justice will prevail", he added. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the three others in the group of 18 who have been detained in Saudi Arabia were consulate employees.

Lambasting at the global outcry over Khashoggi's mysterious death, Jubeir called the issue as "hysterical", underlining that all probes being conducted will take time as the facts have to be properly investigated.

Macron said that sales of weapons to Riyadh - France's second biggest customer after India - have "nothing to do with Mr Khashoggi".

"Failure of any one nation to adhere to worldwide norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most", Mattis told a separate session of the annual Manama Dialogue security conference.

Jubeir said ties between Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, and the United States are "ironclad" and praised what he described as the "rational, realistic" foreign policy of the current USA administration.

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"With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all", Mattis said. He lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for almost a year before his death, had written critically of Prince Mohammed's crackdown on dissent.

Five intelligence chiefs have been sacked, including two who were part of the crown prince's inner circle.

But the Saudi foreign minister vowed Saturday "we will overcome it". "I think people have assigned blame to Saudi Arabia with such certainty before the investigation is complete". "We have made it very clear that those responsible will be held responsible", he said, adding that the kingdom has also put in place mechanisms to ensure this does not happen again. We know that a mistake was committed.

On Thursday, CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed US President Donald Trump on the latest developments in the investigation after a fact-finding mission to Turkey.

Trump has condemned Saudi Arabia's shifting account of the killing of Khashoggi as "the worst cover-up ever".

"You need to show this body", Erdogan insisted on Friday, indicating that his country had more evidence about the killing to reveal.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which was not represented in the Manama conference agenda, have always been locked in a proxy war, competing for regional supremacy from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon to Yemen.

She has demanded punishment of everyone involved in his murder "from the highest to the lowest levels".

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