Freeland: Saudis' 'explanations' of Khashoggi's death lack credibility
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:21PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 21, 2018 7:10AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada has condemned the killing of a Washington Post journalist in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement Saturday night that the Saudis' "explanations" of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi "lack consistency and credibility."
She also reiterated the federal government's call for a thorough investigation in collaboration with Turkish officials.
Khashoggi vanished on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee. Five days later Turkish officials alleged that he had been tortured, killed and dismembered at the diplomatic outpost.
The Saudi government initially denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, but finally admitted early Saturday that he had died at the consulate, claiming he was killed in a "fistfight."
The kingdom also said that five top Saudi intelligence officials had been fired and 18 others arrested as a result of its investigation into the matter.
Khashoggi, once a Saudi royal family insider, grew critical of the kingdom's rulers following their crackdown on opposition, their war on neighbouring Yemen and the severing of ties with the small Gulf state of Qatar.
In her statement, Freeland expressed sincere condolences to Khashoggi's family and loved ones.
"The pain they are enduring as a result of this tragedy is heartbreaking," she said, adding "Those responsible for the killing must be held to account and must face justice."
Government officials in several other countries, including the United States, Germany and Britain, have issued similar statements expressing skepticism of the Saudi account of Khashoggi's death, while also demanding a full and transparent investigation.
The human rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia should "immediately produce" Khashoggi's body so that independent forensic experts can conduct an autopsy in line with international standards.