By Christian Smith
President Trump's suggestion that "rogue killers" may be responsible for Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance suggests he may let Saudi Arabia off the hook for another violation, said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.
"It suggests that what President Trump is hoping for is that we will be able to sweep this under the rug as some great unsolved mystery for which, therefore, no consequences will flow," said Whitson, executive director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division, on Monday in an interview with Cheddar.
Following a call with Saudi King Salman ー who vehemently denied any involvement in Khashoggi's suspected abduction ー Trump suggested to reporters on Monday that the kingdom may not be culpable. The president added in a tweet that he is dispatching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "immediately" to meet with the King in person.
Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain a license to marry his Turkish fiancée. Saudi officials have repeatedly denied any knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts, but Turkish officials claim they have evidence to prove the Saudi dissident was killed while inside the consulate.
On Monday, the Saudi government permitted Turkish officials to inspect the consulate almost two weeks after Khashoggi first went missing. Although officials agreed to the investigation, Whitson said that the message from the Saudi government is clear.
"It has yet again shown the world that the Saudi government doesn't care about the law, doesn't care about basic human dignity, basic ethos of protecting people who enter your consulate, much less a prominent journalist," Whitson said.
For full interview click here.