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US report avoids linking MBS to Khashoggi murder
Washington: A US State Department report has labelled journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder a human rights violation committed by Saudi Arabian government agents, but has made no mention whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the Washington Post columnist’s death.
The annual report, details human rights abuses around the world, under a mandate set by Congress in foreign aid and trade laws. It was released on Wednesday, CNN reported.
The State Department’s top human rights official declined to say what role, if any, the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) assessment of the case played in the account of Khashoggi’s death.
The CIA had concluded that the Crown Prince, also known as MBS, directed Khashoggi’s murder, according to multiple lawmakers briefed by the agency’s Director Gina Haspel.
Ambassador Michael Kozak of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour did not answer when asked why the report failed to mention Bin Salman in connection to Khashoggi’s death, instead talking about an ongoing Saudi investigation and saying, “we’re sort of in the middle of that movie”.
He also refused to say whether the State Department had reviewed the CIA assessment on Khashoggi’s killing.
“I’m not going to give you an answer about Saudi,” Kozak said. “But I can say that we, I mean, we routinely review intelligence information as part of our daily job.”
Kozak defended the omission of the Crown Prince’s name in connection with Khashoggi.
“We can all have our suspicions or speculations, but our effort is fact-driven rather than opinion-driven.” (IANS)