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UN calls on Saudi Arabia to lift immunity of its diplomats

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York [Twitter]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Michelle Bachelet yesterday called on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the lift diplomatic immunity of its officials in Istanbul following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“In view of the seriousness of the situation surrounding the disappearance of Mr. [Jamal] Khashoggi, I believe the inviolability or immunity of the relevant premises and officials bestowed by treaties such as the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations should be waived immediately,” Bachelet said in a statement.

The rights chief also called on Saudi Arabia and Turkey to disclose everything they know about “the disappearance and possible extra-judicial killing” of Khashoggi who went missing two weeks ago after entering his country’s consulate in Istanbul.

READ: Saudi threatens to retaliate against any US sanctions over Khashoggi disappearance

Saudi officials say Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after entering it, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the kingdom to provide proof of their claim.

A Turkish criminal investigation team inspected the consulate on Monday evening after Ankara agreed to form a joint investigation team with Saudi Arabia.

Yesterday, Khashoggi’s family issued a statement calling for the formation of an international commission of inquiry to investigate his possible death.

The Washington Post reported that Turkish officials have told their US counterparts that they have audio and video recordings proving that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate. With media reports claiming that the recordings show that Khashoggi died after being tortured for seven minutes.

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