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Canada blasts Saudi narrative of journalist's death

21 October 2018, MVT 12:09
(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 15, 2014, general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. - US President Donald Trump said October 11, 2018 he was not yet prepared to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, but he faced mounting pressure from concerned American lawmakers. Saudi Arabia is one of the world's largest arms purchasers, with most of them coming from the United States.Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, vanished more than a week ago during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish government sources say he was murdered there, a claim Riyadh denies. (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH / AFP)
21 October 2018, MVT 12:09

Canada condemned Saudi Arabia's account of the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi as inconsistent and not credible on Saturday, calling for a "thorough" investigation.

After two weeks of denials, Riyadh admitted that Khashoggi, a prominent critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside its Istanbul consulate, but has remained mute on the whereabouts of his body.

"Canada condemns the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed took place in its consulate in Istanbul," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

"The explanations offered to date lack consistency and credibility."

Freeland's statement contrasted with US President Donald Trump, who initially said he found the explanation credible.

Trump later said he was unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia's response, although he warned against scrapping a multibillion-dollar arms deal with the conservative kingdom.

Ankara has vowed to reveal all the details of a two-week inquiry.

Turkish officials have accused Riyadh of carrying out a state-sponsored killing and dismembering the body, which police have begun hunting for in an Istanbul forest.

"We reiterate our call for a thorough investigation, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr Khashoggi's death," Freeland said.

"Those responsible for the killing must be held to account and must face justice."

The Canadian diplomatic chief also offered condolences to Khashoggi's family and loved ones.

"The pain they are enduring as a result of this tragedy is heartbreaking," she added.

Relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have been tense in recent months.

After Canada criticized the Saudi arrest of human rights activists, the kingdom retaliated by expelling the Canadian ambassador, recalling its own envoy to Ottawa and freezing trade and investment between the two countries.

Ottawa, Canada | AFP

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