RNZ Wellington, October 21, 2018
New Zealand should be leading the call for an independent international inquiry into the death of Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, the Green Party has said.
The journalist was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 to pick up paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
After two weeks of denials, the Saudi Arabian government said that Mr Khashoggi died in the Consulate, though it has not said what happened to his body.
It claims the journalist died accidentally following a fight.
But Turkish officials have said that he was deliberately killed inside the Consulate, and that his body was dismembered.
The Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman said that information coming out from Turkey and Saudi Arabia are not reliable.
“We do have to raise our voice and say no. Regime-based crimes against free press are not okay and we won’t accept the word of a regime who is possibly guilty of this crime. We do want an independent investigation and if this was a targeted killing, then we’ll have to act in the way that an international citizen should,” she said.
Ms Ghahraman said it was likely it would be raised among coalition partners next week.
A Otago University Professor specialising in Middle Eastern Politics, Bill Harris, said the New Zealand government must take a stand against Saudi Arabia following the suspected murder.
“We should be making pressing consultations with partners along the lines of an international inquiry,” he said.
Professor Harris said it was time New Zealand took urgent diplomatic action against Saudi Arabia. There might be an economic blow if New Zealand stood up against Saudi Arabia, he said, but that must come second to human rights.
“We have got a revolting crime and this nonsense about it being some sort of ‘accident’.”
He said doing nothing would set a dangerous precedent and international norms and conventions would “go out the window,” if Saudi Arabia was not held to account.
“This whole business of the Saudi’s doing their own investigation, is so insolent and contemptuous towards the international community, including us, that it demands some response.”
He said it was disgraceful that the only international action to date was people “sheepishly leaving” an investment conference.
Eva Corlett is a Reporter at Radio New Zealand. Indian Newslink has published the above Report and Picture under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz
A group of people hold pictures of Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington. Photo: AFP (As published by RNZ)