Dabholkar murder case: Norwegian divers recover pistol from seabed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Dabholkar murder case: Norwegian divers recover pistol from seabed

The weapon has been sent for a forensic examination to establish if it was indeed used in the murder of Dabholkar. CBI, in August 2019, informed a Pune court that it needed to scour the sea at Kharegaon Creek near Thane to look for the weapon.

INDIA Updated: Mar 05, 2020 02:31 IST
Neeraj Chauhan and Shalaka Shinde
Neeraj Chauhan and Shalaka Shinde

Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Pune
CBI) has recovered a pistol that may have been used in the killing from the Arabian Sea with the help of Norwegian deep-sea explorers and technology.
CBI) has recovered a pistol that may have been used in the killing from the Arabian Sea with the help of Norwegian deep-sea explorers and technology.(File photo)

In a significant breakthrough in the murder of rationalist and social activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was shot dead by unidentified men in Pune in August 2013, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recovered a pistol that may have been used in the killing from the Arabian Sea with the help of Norwegian deep-sea explorers and technology, two senior officers aware of the development said.

The weapon has been sent for a forensic examination to establish if it was indeed used in the murder of Dabholkar. The agency, in August 2019, informed a Pune court that it needed to scour the sea at Kharegaon Creek near Thane to look for the weapon.

Seven people, including Virendra Tade, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, Vikram Bhave, Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure, were named by CBI as the key accused in the murder of Dabholkar, who was shot dead while on a morning walk.

“We have found a pistol after days of exploration. The ballistics experts will now examine it with the bullet size/type mentioned in the post mortem report of Dabholkar,” one of the two senior officers cited above said on condition of anonymity.

Dubai-based Envitech Marine Consultants, engaged by CBI for the exploration, transported its machinery from Norway for finding the weapon. The experts used a magnetic sledge to explore the area near Kharegaon Creek as part of an exploration survey called ‘Topographical and Level Survey’, in which the silt top and silt depth levels were checked, said the officer.

As part of the survey, several methods — known as Electronic Distance Measuring, Angle Measurement, and Level Measurement — were used, he added.

The central agency arranged the whole operation, starting from getting permission from the state government to securing environment clearances. It even got customs duty worth around ~95 lakh waived for bringing the machinery from Norway.

The cost of exploration operation is estimated at Rs 7.5 crore. CBI is committed to taking the case to its logical conclusion, the officer said.

CBI and the Karnataka and Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squads (ATS) are likely to jointly bear the cost of exploration as three murder cases in the two states — Dabholkar in Pune, and Gauri Lankesh and MM Kalburgi in Karnataka — are linked.

“I must, at this point, say that I cannot comment on portion of investigation that has not been presented in the court. But if indeed such a development has occurred, I hope by April or in the next 10 days, they should start the trial. I personally do not know when the divers came and the process happened. Interestingly enough, the search has been going on for a year. It is not an ocean, just a creek. I fail to understand why it took so long. Only after Dharmadhikari resigned, a statement was made by the investigation authority that we will complete the investigation by March-end,” said advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, a defence lawyer in the Dabholkar case.

Bombay high court justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari, who had been hearing the Dabholkar case, had tendered his resignation last month citing personal reasons. Justice Dharmadhikari had issued multiple orders in the case pulling up CBI for the slow pace of investigation.

Dabholkar was shot dead by two bike-borne assailants on August 20, 2013, on the Omkareshwar bridge in Pune around 7.30am. In 2014, the investigation was handed over to CBI.

The first charge sheet in the matter was filed on September 6, 2016, naming Virendra Tawade as the main conspirator and Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar as the shooters. A supplementary charge sheet in the case was filed on February 13, 2019, naming Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar as the two shooters. Another charge sheet was filed on November 20, 2019, against advocate Sanjiv Punalekar and his aide Vikram Bhave, naming them as co-conspirators in the murder. Of the seven people named in the case, Tawade, Kalaskar, Andure and Bhave are in jail. Akolkar and Pawar are yet to be arrested. Advocate Punalekar and Bhave were arrested on May 25, 2019. Punalekar was granted bail on July 5, 2019.

Kalaskar and Andure are being investigated by the CBI in the Dabholkar murder case as well as the Karnataka special investigation team probing the Gauri Lankesh murder.

(A Savage Comment) Worshiping The Devil In Burning To Death A 15 Year Old Girl

Worshiping The Devil In Burning To Death A 15 Year Old Girl

(I FIRST PUBLISHED THIS ARTICLE ON MAY 6th OF 2016)

Today on my CNN News feed I read another disturbing piece of news that is coming to us from Pakistani police and from their Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif. This news is of a ‘so-called’ honor killing that has nothing at all to do with anyone’s honor and everything to do with worshiping and serving the Devil Himself. This story goes like this, a 15 yr of girl helped arrange for her best friend and her boyfriend to elope (get married). This happened in a city called Abbottbad in North West Pakistan where ‘Tribal Councils’ tend to be the ‘real’ authorities, not the police or the military. This 15 member Council called a Jirga ordered the death of this young lady. The report says that 13 of those Council members took part in the murder and those 13 have been arrested with a few others. In this case the police have also arrested the girls Mother because they said she knew in advance what was going to happen and did not tell the police so that made her complicit in the murder. Not mentioned is why the other two members of that Council who also knew were not arrested, why not is my question? The way that these animals chose to murder this young lady is they drugged her, kidnapped her, choked her, chained her to a van and then set the van on fire with her alive inside it. As I said in the title of this article, Devil worshipers. This religion that is called Islam has nothing to do with a ‘God’, it only has to do with these folks being raised in Devil worshiping, the good point about this is that these people do not know what they are doing. I totally believe that way over 90% of these disciples of Satan would drop that religion in a flat second if they only knew the truth about who/what Allah really is.

(A Savage Comment) Creationism AND Evolution: There Is Truth In Both Of Them

Creationism AND Evolution: There Is Truth In Both Of Them

 

I am a devout life long Christian yet I have for most of my adult life debated how Christians (for the most part) are so oblivious to reality and to the Truths that are shown us in the Bible. So many people who believe in the Bible as the Holy Spirit Inspired Word Of God (as I also do) tend to read the Bible with ‘Church Doctrine’ blinders on. Back in the time of the Apostles and the time that Jesus walked the Earth when they taught in the Synagogues the people studied the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was the truth or not. Just because your Preacher or a Church Elder, Bishop, or if you are Catholic, even the Pope, tells you something it is your Christian obligation to search out the Scriptures to see if what you are being told is Biblical truth.

 

Reality is that the ignorance of Christians/Churches have convinced millions if not billions of people throughout history to turn their backs on the Jewish and the Christian faith. Right from the very first book of the Bible (Genesis) Christians and Jews do not understand what we are so plainly being told. Yes the world and all in it were created in six days, but those six days are not, were not, human days, they were God’s days. I nor any other human knows what one of God’s days represent compared to a human day but Scripture tells us over and over again that God’s days are not our days yet humans keep trying to make that be so anyway. Even in our own solar system every single planet that circles the sun has a different amount of our hours in one of their days. Some will, through their ego’s say, well why didn’t Moses just lay it all our for us so we could know exactly everything? Folks, almost all of the humans that were alive about 3,600-3,700 human years ago calculated time through their own ancestors which normally only traversed back 3, 4, or 5 generations at best. Do you honestly think if Moses had started teaching them of thinks that happened 3 or 4 billion years ago that these people would have listened to him? What if Moses had started laying out the lineage of Dinosaurs, what do you think they would have done? My guess is that the people would have shunned him for being a crazy man.

 

Most all of us know some about the story of Adam and Eve from the first two chapters of Genesis but my question to everyone is, just how well have you read it? Have you just taken the word of the Church you attend as to what the Scripture actually is telling us all? Please reread the first two chapters. If you will notice in the first chapter Adam was created but before His creation God created ‘men and women, and, God created He them’. After God had created multiple ‘men and women’ God created Adam. Now in the first chapter, after God did all of His creating of those ‘Six Days’, God rested from His work on the 7th day. Then after all His work was done and He had created the first group of people (the Gentiles) and Adam, then in chapter #2 God then created Eve to be a help mate for Adam. Folks, the ‘promised one, the Messiah, Jesus The Christ’ lineage is traced back through the ‘Royal Blood Line’ to Adam, actually to Eve. There were two human creations, the gentiles, and the Royal Blood Line of Adam. Adam and Eve were about 5,500 human years ago yet humans were on this planet many thousands of years before this time. Jesus Himself referred to us Gentiles as “people before this time whom were not a people”. Jesus was pointing out that before His time here on Earth, before His Resurrection that salvation was only to the Jews and to no one else. So, people who were not a people, Gentiles! These are simple truths laid out in writing for us all to see yet we choose to remain blind. Think about a few things we are told here in the beginning of Genesis. After Cain had murdered his brother Able God banished Cain to the East of Eden in the land of Nod. God put a mark on the forehead of Cain so that “all who find him would not kill him”, folks, all of who? There were only 3 people left on the planet right, just Cain, his Mom Eve and his Dad Adam, so all of whom? Then after Cain had been banished he took a wife, wait a minute, where did she come from? Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible/Torah through the guidance of God’s Spirit, whom we tend to call the Holy Spirit from the New Testament. The Truth of the Scriptures are right before our eyes, but we have been trained not to see the real Truth. We have been taught Church doctrines instead which has run many millions of people away from God’s teachings.

 

If Moses had told the people of his time that the world was about 4-5 billion years old and that the planet we call Earth had started with a big interstellar bang what do you think the people would have done to him? At the very least they would have thought him to be crazy and no one would have paid him any mind. To my Christian and Jewish brothers, yes there were such things as dinosaurs and there has been life on this planet for several hundred millions of human years. I did not say that there has been human life here on Earth for hundreds of millions of our years, just life itself. God does not want us to be ignorant for ignorance begets death, physical and spiritual. Science has pretty much discovered/proven that human life has been on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, not just the 5,000-5,500 years since Adam and Eve. I am not an archaeologist even though I am a huge fan of history. I know that science has been looking for the so-called ‘missing link’ between Primates and Humans for longer than I have been alive. This is like trying to find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, it doesn’t exist folks.

 

Evolution, is there such a thing? Of course there is folks. As an example I would like to use the people science calls Neanderthals. For most of my life time scientist have wondered what happened to them, why did they go extinct? Just like the people before them who bred with them the same thing happened to them, they were bred out of existence. You can breed cattle with buffalo and you get what is called beefalo. You can take oranges and breed them with tangerines and you get a product called tangelos. In Scripture the ‘House of Israel’ was forbidden to mix blood with any of the Gentiles, if they did then they were counted as not being pure. Humans did not crawl up out of the oceans and even though we have many of the same molecules of other creatures we did not derive from them and they did not derive from us. Today science can create a form of a human being through cloning and some would call this evolution, that we have evolved into a more pure condition but they are ignorant of reality. Science can play God, but they are not God. Just as if I could make an android and give it a human name like George, George is still not a human. The difference in these two creations of science and a real human being is that science can not create ‘a Soul’. It is the Soul that makes the conscientiousness that makes one human and only God can create the Soul. Is there such a thing as evolution, of course there is, just not to the extent that some scientist believe and or are trying to find or create.

 

Science has some things wrong, yet they do have many things correct. Churches have many things correct, yet they have many things wrong. It is the job of the Churches to teach the whole Truth but first the Churches must open their eyes to what the Scriptures actually say and to forget about ‘Church doctrines’. The Earth is a special place for it is designated to be “God’s Footstool”. Earth is where Jesus will reign from once the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven to replace the current city of Jerusalem once it has been totally destroyed after the Second Advent. Now, Christians, wake up to reality about other planets. Do you honestly think that if God is the Creator of all things in the Heavens and on the Earth that He created billions of planets for no purpose or reason at all? To the best of my knowledge I have never seen an alien yet I totally believe that they exist, it would be difficult to honestly believe other wise. Then again there is the issue of, what does an alien actually look like? Personally I have no idea, but I do doubt that they look like humans. Personally I believe in the existence of Angels, I also believe that I have seen and spoken with at least two in my lifetime. I also believe in the existence of Satan and of His Angels, to me, to not believe in both is Biblical ignorance. I personally do not know if I have ever spoken directly with any Demons but I think that there is a very good chance that I have several times. I know that I have experienced being in places and in the presence of a few people where the feeling of pure evil was like a stench in the air, you could feel it, you could almost taste it. Remember, if you spend your life trying to be good and trying your best to be the best follower of Christ that you know how to be, you make yourself a target for the hate of evil ones, humans and otherwise.

Do You Actually Own Anything: Or Does The U.S.Federal Government Own It/You?

(This article is courtesy of OPB TV and Radio of eastern Oregon)

News | Nation | Local | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

‘This Land Is Our Land’: The Movement Bigger Than The Bundys

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

Dave Blanchard/OPB

OPB’s Conrad Wilson and the Oregonian/OregonLive’s Maxine Bernstein update us on the last full week of the government’s case against the Malheur refuge occupiers.

Then, we take a look at the so-called Patriot Movement — a loosely connected network of organizations that are united in the belief the federal government has overstepped its authority.

Mark Potok is a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center. His job is to monitor groups that are a part of what he calls the “extreme right.” That includes everything from racist groups like the KKK and to groups like the Bundys, whose concerns revolve around severe distrust of the federal government.

Potok says many people in the groups he tracks believe there is “a secret plan to impose draconian gun control on all Americans” and “those who resist the coming seizure will be thrown into concentration camps that have been secretly built by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

SPLC has identified nearly 1,000 groups across the country with these kinds of beliefs and connects the groups to the philosophies that motivated the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho; the Waco, Texas, siege; and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Potok says there is a way to curb the movement.

“In the late ‘90s, the FBI made quite an effort … to meet with militiamen, to go out to have coffee to talk to these people about their concerns and fears, and in fact I think there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that was quite effective,” Potok said. “You realize the person you’re having coffee with is an actual human being just like you are.”uge

 

Joseph Rice is the head of the Josephine County chapter of the Oath Keepers — a group that Potok sees as central to so-called patriot groups. But Rice thinks SPLC is uninformed about his group.

“I’ve never spoken to those folks,” he said.

Rice was in Harney County when Ammon Bundy led a group to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but Rice and his group didn’t join the occupation. Instead, he and a group of like-minded organizations known as the “Pacific Patriots Network” stuck around to provide security in town. The group said it was there to prevent another Waco or Ruby Ridge-like incident.

Those incidents, he says, were “lessons in history.” The individuals involved in those incidents “were living their life as they chose to live freely, without impact to others. It was only when the federal government came in they had impact, and that resulted in loss of life.”

Though he didn’t endorse it, Rice insists that the takeover of the refuge was an act of civil disobedience. And while he disagrees with the charges against Ammon Bundy and the other defendants, he does think the incident has drawn attention to issues around the federal control of land, which could be good for the aims of his group.

Subscribe To ‘This Land Is Our Land’

Subscribe to “This Land Is Our Land” on NPR One, iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts. Find comprehensive trial coverage at OPB.org/ThisLand.

Share your thoughts on the trial with us on Facebook and Twitter, or by emailing us directly at [email protected].

Shooter Of Nobel Prize Winner Malala Escapes From Prison In Pakistan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Man responsible for shooting of Nobel Prize winner Malala escapes from prison in Pakistan

It would be a big blow to Pakistan and its campaign to eradicate the remnants of Taliban if the clip is proved to be authentic.

WORLD Updated: Feb 07, 2020 07:04 IST

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Islamabad
Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Taliban terrorist responsible for shooting Malala Yousafzai and killing over 132 students in 2014 Peshawar Army School has escaped prison.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Taliban terrorist responsible for shooting Malala Yousafzai and killing over 132 students in 2014 Peshawar Army School has escaped prison. (Twitter/@IhsanTipu)

Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former Pakistan Taliban spokesman who was responsible for the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and carrying out the deadly Peshawar Army school terror attack in 2014, has escaped from prison, according to a audio clip released by him.

In the audio clip, which surfaced on social media on Thursday, Ehsan said that he escaped the confinement of Pakistani security agencies on January 11, claiming Pakistani forces failed to keep their promises made to him during his surrender in 2017.

“With the help of God, I succeeded to escape on January 11, 2020 from the confinement of the security forces,” he is heard saying in the clip.

It would be a big blow to Pakistan and its campaign to eradicate the remnants of Taliban if the clip is proved to be authentic.

Without revealing his current location, Ehsan said that he would make a detail statement about the days of his confinement in the coming days as well as about his future plans.

Malala, 22, the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner, was shot by a gunman for campaigning for female education in 2012 in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

Ehsan was also involved in the one of the most gruesome attacks on children anywhere in the world when 8-10 suicide attackers wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniforms on December 16, 2014 entered the Peshawar’s Army Public School and went from classroom-to-classroom shooting indiscriminately, killing 149 people including 132 students.

Ehsan in the audio clip said that he surrendered to the Pakistani security agencies on February 5, 2017 under an agreement but the forces failed to keep their promise made before the surrender.

“I followed the agreement for about three years. But these shrewd security institutions put me in prison along with my children in violation of the agreement,” he said, adding that he finally decided to flee from the forces. The authenticity of the audio and veracity of the Ehsan’s claim was not verified by the security forces or the Pakistani government.

Pregnant Mother and Five Kids Among 7 Tortured Burned to Death in Panama Religious Ritual

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘DAILY BEAST’)

 

Pregnant Mother and Five Kids Among 7 Tortured and Burned to Death in Panama Religious Ritual

GRUESOME

Panama Public Ministry/Reuters

Texas: Shooting At Church of Christ

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE)

 

Two people dead, one wounded in shooting at Church of Christ in Texas

Gunfire occurred during the Lord’s Supper at the West Freeway congregation in White Settlement, near Fort Worth.

Agunman opened fire during the Lord’s Supper at a Church of Christ in Texas this morning, killing one worshiper and critically wounding a second.

Armed members immediately returned fire and killed the shooter at the West Freeway Church of Christ in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement.

“Today, evil walked boldly among us,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill E. Waybourn said at an afternoon news briefing. “But let me remind you: Good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse.”

Jeoff Williams, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said: “We have a couple of heroic parishioners who … saved countless lives. Our hearts are going out to them and their families.”

A video of the church’s worship assembly, viewed by The Christian Chronicle, showed a man saying something to a member holding a communion tray. Then the man backed up, pulled out a weapon and fired at that member and another man near the back of the nearly full auditorium. In just a few seconds, at least one armed member returned fire, and the shooter fell to the ground.

At least two additional people with handguns approached the gunman as the gunfire ended — the louds blasts replaced with screams and tears from the shocked congregation.

US Attorney Erin Nealy Cox

@USAttyNealyCox

No one should be subjected to gunfire in a house of worship. Our hearts go out to those affected by the tragedy in White Settlement today. Details of the shooter are currently under investigation. @FBIDallas @ATFDallas @FortWorthPD @FortWorthFire

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This is a breaking news report. Please check back for updates.

Filed under: CHURCH OF CHRISTCHURCH SHOOTING FORT WORTH FT WORTH GUNMAN MASS SHOOTINGS NATIONAL TEXAS TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING TOP STORIES WEST FREEWAY CHURCH OF CHRIST WHITE SETTLEMENT

Texas sheriff: 2 dead, seven shot in music video ‘ambush’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY YAHOO NEWS)

 

Texas sheriff: 2 dead, seven shot in music video ‘ambush’

Associated Press

Scroll back up to restore default view.

HOUSTON (AP) — Two men were killed and seven others were wounded by gunfire when a group filming a rap music video was “ambushed” near Houston, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

The Harris County sheriff’s office said Saturday morning that 20-year-old Gonzalo Gonzalez and 22-year-old Jonathan Jimenez died at the scene Friday night. The sheriff’s office said the seven injured were taken to hospitals and ranged in age from 17 to 23.

The sheriff’s office said Saturday that they did not know a motive or have any suspects.

“We don’t know if there was a beef going on or what exactly happened,” Gonzalez said at a news conference just after the shooting.

“We know it was a rap video that w as being filmed out here but beyond that we don’t know who the performers or who was involved in it, just that there was a large group out there,” he said.

The sheriff said authorities received a call about a drive-by shooting around 9:30 p.m. Officers responded to what Gonzalez characterized as a residential neighborhood just north of Houston, where a group of males had been making the video in an office parking lot. The shooting scene stretched several blocks, the sheriff said.

“There were other vehicles that were staged there and they were filming some type of music video when, all of a sudden, basically they were ambushed, we believe by individuals in cars and/or foot that fired shots into the parking lot area,” Gonzalez said at the news conference.

He said the shooting “unfolded very quickly” and it was unclear how many people opened fire. “A lot of shots were fired,” he said.

The sheriff said Friday night that figuring out who was at the scene will be part of the investigation, and asked for witnesses to come forward.

Somalia suicide car bomb attack rocks capital, killing at Least 79

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(The lack of a moral/religion ‘code’, such a spiritual sickness) (oldpoet56)

 

Somalia suicide car bomb attack rocks capital, killing at Least 79

A soldier is seen next to the wreckage of car that was damaged during the suicide attack in Mogadishu on Saturday.

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN)At least 79 people are dead and 149 more injured after a massive car bomb exploded at a busy intersection on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday, according to a government official.

Government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar also earlier told CNN that the attacker drove his vehicle into the “Ex-control Afgoye” checkpoint, a well-known junction that links the south of Somalia to the capital.
Mukhtar added that university students were among the dead.
The attack happened during rush hour in the Somali capital at about 8 a.m. local time, and civilians and soldiers are among the dead, police said.
Police conduct security searches at the checkpoint, but there is also a taxation office located nearby and the area is heavily populated with civilians and security forces.

Nurses from Mogadishu's Madina Hospital push a wounded person on a stretcher.

Police have warned that the death toll could rise as many of the wounded have been rushed to hospitals.
Images from the scene showed multiple wrecked vehicles with shards of twisted metal nearby as well as a minibus marked with blood.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed two Turkish citizens had died in the attack.
“May Allah’s mercy be upon our 2 citizens and innocent Somali brothers&sisters who lost their lives in the heinous terrorist attack,” Çavuşoğlu wrote on his Twitter account. He added Turkey would continue to stand with Somalia in the fight against terror.
Saturday’s attack came two weeks after at least five people were killed in a seven-hour battle at a hotel popular with lawmakers and security officials in the Somali capital.
In February, the group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bombing at a crowded shopping mall that left at least 10 dead. It was also behind three car bombings last November that killed at least 52 people with about 100 more injured.

Saudi: ‘Antithesis of justice’: Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

‘Antithesis of justice’: Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned

Global condemnation as Saudi exonerates crown prince’s aides over journalist’s murder, but US welcomes ‘important step’.

'Antithesis of justice': Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned
Jamal Khashoggi was a US resident and a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [File: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo]

The United Nations extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard, Turkey and international rights groups have roundly condemned a Saudi court verdict over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it failed to deliver justice.

But despite global condemnation, a US State Department official hailed the verdict as “an important step” in holding the perpetrators accountable.

Five people were sentenced to death on Monday over the brutal killing of the writer by a team of Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October, but two top aides to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) – the de facto Saudi leader – were exonerated.

The Saudi prosecutor’s office said a total of 31 people were investigated in connection with the killing, and that 11 people were charged. Three were handed jail terms totalling 24 years and the rest were acquitted. None of the defendants’ names was immediately released.

“The investigation showed that the killing was not premeditated … The decision was taken at the spur of the moment,” Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said, a position contradicting the findings of a United Nations-led investigation.

More:

In a series of tweets, Callamard explained that the verdict contravened international law.

“The execution of Jamal Khashoggi demanded an investigation into the chain of command to identify the masterminds, as well as those who incited, allowed or turned a blind eye to the murder, such as the crown prince. This was not investigated,” she said. 

“The hitmen are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, a spokesman for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that the trial was “all but satisfactory”.

The case was “shrouded in secrecy since the beginning, and it’s still … until now … We do not know the identities of those masked perpetrators, we don’t know the specific charge levelled against who exactly,” Benchemsi said.

“Saudi prosecutors did not even attempt to investigate the upper levels of this crime, and whether they played a role in ordering the killing, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he added.

Khashoggi, a critic of MBS, was living in self-imposed exile in the United States, where he had been granted residency status.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder.

Turkish intelligence agencies concluded that he was killed in a premeditated murder, while the CIA has reportedly concluded that MBS likely ordered the killing. But Riyadh has consistently denied that the crown prince was involved.

Here are the reactions to the Saudi verdict:

Turkey

Turkey described the verdict as “scandalous” and said those responsible for the murder had been granted immunity.

“Those who dispatched a death squad to Istanbul on a private jet … and sought to sweep this murder under the rug have been granted immunity,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, wrote on Twitter.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision “is far from meeting the expectations of both our country and the international community to shed light on the murder with all its dimensions, and deliver justice”.

Ankara said there was no clarity on key aspects of the murder including the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body, labelling it a “fundamental deficiency” in terms of accountability.

UN rapporteur

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, who has previously directly linked MBS to the killing, said the sentence “is anything but justice”.

“Under international human rights law, the killing of Khashoggi was an extrajudicial execution for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” she wrote on Twitter.

Agnes Callamard

@AgnesCallamard

g) According to my sources, the prosecutor had argued that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi had been premeditated. The Crown Prince had argued that this was an accident against the evidence. Guess who the Judge followed?

Agnes Callamard

@AgnesCallamard

h) The defendants had repeatedly stated they were obeying orders. The prosecutor had publicly stated that Saud al-Qahtani, Crown Prince personal adviser, had demanded the abduction of Jamal Khashoggi (on the grounds he was a threat to national security.) And yet, he remains free

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“Bottom line: the hit men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery,” said Callamard, who does not speak for the UN but reports her findings to it.

United States

The US also welcomed the sentences, calling the ruling an “important step”.

“Today’s verdicts were an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable,” a US Department of State official told reporters after the ruling.

The US “encouraged Saudi Arabia to undertake a fair and transparent judicial process”, the official added.

“We’re pressing them for more transparency and for holding everybody accountable.”

Reporters Without Borders

Paris-based media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said that justice was “trampled on” with the death sentences meted out after a trial that did not respect international standards of justice.

The group’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire tweeted that the sentences “can be interpreted as a means to permanently silence the suspects, a way to prevent them from speaking to better cover up the truth”.

“The opacity of the procedure and the concealment of evidence does not allow us to get an idea” of why several others were convicted or acquitted, said Deloire, adding: “We still expect a full accounting.”

Amnesty International

Amnesty International criticized the verdict as a “whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones”.

“Given the lack of transparency from the Saudi authorities, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, only an international, independent and impartial investigation can serve justice for Jamal Khashoggi,” said Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf.

“The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains,” she said in a statement.

Hatice Cengiz

The verdict left Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz unsatisfied, with her saying on Twitter that the “Saudi announcement not acceptable”.

Hatice Cengiz / خديجة

@mercan_resifi

Saudi announcement not acceptable ..!

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United Kingdom

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned “the use of the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle”.

“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible crime,” Raab said in a statement. “Mr Khashoggi’s family deserve to see justice done for his brutal murder. Saudi Arabia must ensure all of those responsible are held to account and that such an atrocity can never happen again.”

Salah Khashoggi

The slain journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, said his family had achieved justice, thanks to the verdict of Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor.

“Today we have been granted justice as the children of the deceased, God willing, Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels, that it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved,” he said in a Twitter post.

Karen Attiah

Khashoggi’s friend and editor at the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, said the trial was “a complete sham”.

“Justice for Jamal Khashoggi’s senseless, horrific death is not more senseless death,” she said. “More anonymous bloodshed is not closure. The ‘trials’ were in secret. For all we know, these five men who have been sentenced to death may not deserve the ultimate penalty.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES