UN calls for immunity lift on Saudi Consulate officials

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Journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since he entered in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2

UN human rights chief on Tuesday called for lifting the immunity of the Saudi consul general and consulate workers in Istanbul to shed light on the case of a missing Saudi journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper, has long been feared killed at the consulate after he entered on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.

“In view of the seriousness of the situation surrounding the disappearance of Mr. 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,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

Both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing were very serious crimes under the international law, Bachelet said.

She added that “immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible.”

Bachelet said, “Two weeks is a very long time for the probable scene of a crime not to have been subjected to a full forensic investigation.”

The UN human rights chief said that the onus was on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him “from that point onwards”.

On Monday, Turkish and Saudi officials arrived at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after the start of a joint probe into the missing journalist.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of what happened to Khashoggi, while several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K. — are pressing for the mystery to be cleared up as soon as possible.