Golriz Ghahraman is calling for an independent inquiry into the presumed murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 2 to pick up documents relating to his impending marriage.
Evidence has since emerged suggesting Khashoggi was murdered in the embassy. The inquiry is currently being conducted as a ‘joint working group’ between the Turkish Government and the Saudi Monarchy, rather than an independent investigation.
Ghahraman, the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, has called for the inquiry to be taken away from Turkish and Saudi powers.
“It is concerning that the investigation into the case is occurring as a joint working group between the Turkish Government and the Saudi Monarchy. This is clearly political and any investigation must be independent of those powers,” Ghahraman said.
“The international community must react strongly to hold Saudi Arabia to account,” she said.
Alternatives to the fraught investigation could involve an inquiry assisted or appointed by the United Nations. The UN has a Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions who could assist an investigation.
Ardern yet to be briefed
Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade met with the Saudi Embassy on Tuesday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had not yet been briefed on the outcome of that meeting.
She said she had not yet been briefed on the details of Gharaman’s proposal. New Zealand currently encouraged full cooperation with the existing inquiry.
“[There are] obviously a lot of immediate questions that need to be answered so no we haven’t looked into the details of who conducts it just the fact it needs to occur,” Ardern said.
A fraught inquiry
The investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance has become mired in the fraught geo-politics of the Middle East.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have a tense political relationship. Most recently they ended up on opposite sides of a dispute involving Qatar. In 2017, a Saudi-led coalition severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, citing concerns over Qatar-backed broadcaster Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s support for Iran.
Turkey and Iran were the only two Middle East powers to back Qatar in the dispute.
Key details of the Khashoggi affair appear to have been leaked to media by the Turkish Government.
International media reported on Wednesday the Saudi Government was on the edge of admitting Khashoggi had died in a botched attempt to forcibly extradite him.