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On October 2, 2019, a year has passed since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. On 26 June 2019, Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Ms. Agnes Kalamard, accused the Saudi government of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and called on all governments to exercise their universal rights to detain and investigate anyone who may have been involved in the killing, even if he was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Special Rapporteur’s report indicated that Saudi officials had hidden Khashoggi’s body and called on the Saudi government to reveal the whereabouts. His family demanded also the body for proper burial. The Saudi government has not responded to the demands, and a year after his death, the whereabouts of his body remain unknown.
Along with Khashoggi, the Saudi government is hiding the bodies of dozens of individuals who have been extra judicially killed or carried out arbitrary executions. According to ESOHR monitoring, the Saudi government has been holding 83 bodies from January 2016 until the end of September 2019.
According to the ESOHR’s monitoring, 42 bodies are related to victims of arbitrary executions, while the rest are related to the extrajudicial killing by live ammunition. ESOHR has documented violations of international laws involved in the process of concealing bodies.
ESOHR affirms that the Saudi government should return the bodies to the families so that they are buried in an appropriate manner.
The Saudi government’s approach to human rights is mostly not based on voluntary respect, but it stops abuses or respects certain rights when placed under various pressures. Extensive and sustained pressures are important in reaching the stage of uncovering the fate of Khashoggi’s body and the rest of the 82 bodies.