- Police searching the Saudi consulate in Turkey found evidence that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed there.
- Khashoggi was a longtime Saudi journalist, foreign correspondent, editor and columnist whose work has been controversial in the past in the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom.
- He went into self-imposed exile in the United States following the ascension of Prince Mohammed, now next in line to succeed his father, the 82-year-old King Salman.
- As a contributor to the Post, Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women’s rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.
- Jamal wasa committed, courageous journalist.
- He wrote out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom.
Timeline of the incident
- Khashoggi, 59, went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.
- The consulate initially insisted that the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials.
- Khashoggi, vanished on October 2 while visiting the mission to pick up paperwork he needed to get married.
- The initial assessment of the Turkish police was that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul.
- The police started searching the Saudi consulate after that.
- Turkey wanted to search the consulate for days but permission apparently came only after a call between King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
- Even after that certain areas of the consulate were to remain offlimits to the turkey officials.
- Now, the police searching the Saudi consulate found evidence that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed there.
- There is a pressure on Saudi Arabia now to explain what happened to Khashoggi.
Impact of the case
- His murder has threatened to upend already-fraught relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
- It also raises new questions about the kingdom and the actions of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in his columns.
- As the Turkey police official found difficulty in investigation due to “inviolability or immunity” clause of 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, there is a question on the effectiveness of the convention.
- Hence, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the “inviolability or immunity” of people or premises granted under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations “should be waived immediately”.
- Saudi officials have called Turkish allegations that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed Khashoggi baseless.
- However, US media reports suggested that the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed at the consulate, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.
- Saudi admission of the killing would be some kind of a win-win deal for all parties.
- It could ease off the political crisisdefuse some criticism of the Trump administration, while Riyadh may also untap low-interest loans to the cash-hungry Turkey.
About Vienna convention, 1963
- The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 is an international treatythat defines a framework for consular relations between independent states.
- A consul normally operates out of an embassy in another country, and performs two functions:
- Protecting in the host country the interests of their countrymen, and
- Furthering the commercial and economic relations between the two states.
- The Convention was adopted at Viennaon April 24, 1963, the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations, which took place at the Neue Hofburg from March 4 to April 22, 1963.
- The treaty has been ratified by 179 states.
- The convention covers diplomatic immunity, as well as the idea that embassies and consulates sit on foreign soil in their host countries.
- Article 31 provides that the consular premises are inviolabile(i.e., the host nation may not enter the consular premises, and must protect the premises from intrusion or damage).
- The UN human rights chief said that this immunity should be waived off.