United Nations


Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Distr.: General

20 April 2020

English only

Committee against Torture

Information received from Saudi Arabia on follow-up to the concluding observations on its second periodic report *

[Date received: 27 June 2019]

Letter dated 26 June 2019 from the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed to the Rapporteur for follow-up on concluding observations

I have received your Excellency’s letter which was sent on 4 June 2019, regarding your request to provide the Committee against Torture with detailed information on some of Saudi detainees and the case of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi.

In this context, I would like to draw your kind attention to the fact that the Permanent Mission has already provided the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner with all requested information.

With regards to the case of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi, please find enclosed the latest official statements issued by the Saudi authorities concerning this case.

In conclusion, I would like to confirm that the Saudi Arabian judiciary is entirely independent and, in all its criminal judicial proceedings, the Kingdom follows its relevant laws which are consistent with international human rights standards.

Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Signed) Abdulaziz Alwasil

Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Statement by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and member of the Council of Ministers

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, His Excellency Mr. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and member of the Council of Ministers, said that the murder of citizen Jamal Khashoggi may he rest in peace - was a deplorable and grievous crime which could in no way be disregarded or condoned. As had already been announced, the Kingdom had taken the requisite steps to bring the perpetrators of that crime to justice, in accordance with the laws in force in its territory, after they violated, by their act, all the regulations and the powers vested in them.

With regard to the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, he said that, regrettably, Ms. Callamard's report was full of unfounded allegations including, inter alia, the violation of a number of international conventions and a totally unacceptable impeachment of the Kingdom's leadership. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs went on to say that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while reaffirming its sincere commitment to, and respect for, international laws and conventions and its rejection of all the abusive and false allegations contained in the report, retained its right to take legal action in response thereto.

Regarding the impartiality and credibility of the report, Minister Al-Jubeir indicated that there were valid grounds to affirm the biased and non-objective nature of the Special Rapporteur's report, of the Special Rapporteur herself and of the findings and conclusions that she reached. The Special Rapporteur had based her report on press and media reports and had relied on the analyses and deductions of unnamed experts in order to reach a number of fundamental conclusions in her report, in which she also made use of expressions, descriptions and allegations that had previously been used by parties opposed to the Kingdom for political, ideological and historical reasons and which had been adopted by biased bodies seeking to detract from the Kingdom and its leadership. Needless to say, all this clearly showed that the report lacked impartiality, credibility and the reliability that should have been an important factor in its preparation even if, as in the case of this report, it was not an official or binding report of the United Nations.

His Excellency added that the Special Rapporteur had disregarded the previously announced endeavours that the Kingdom's competent agencies made to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the crime. She should have referred to those endeavours and should have shown due respect for the ongoing investigations and the judicial measures taken in this case within the Kingdom since they involved the sovereignty of the Kingdom and its judicial institutions, any violation of which was totally unacceptable.

He also said that, for unknown reasons, the report denigrated the publicly announced measures that the Kingdom had taken to restructure its Presidency of General Intelligence.

Regarding the competence of the Special Rapporteur, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that the false allegations and accusations made in the report gave cause to believe that they were grounded in Ms. Callamard's preconceived ideas and attitudes concerning theKingdom. This belief was further substantiated by the fact that, from the first days after the murder, Ms. Callamard made intentional but totally unfounded accusations against the Kingdom. She began, on the third day after the distressing event, by sending tweets accusing the Kingdom of being responsible for the murder and covering up the crime. She had also described the statement of the Saudi Attorney General as unacceptable and had questioned the probity of the investigations in total disregard for the code of conduct under which she had an obligation to conduct a professional and impartial assessment of the facts. This raised important questions concerning the extent of Ms. Callamard's competence to present an objective and impartial report on this case.

His Excellency Adel Al-Jubeir added that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was seeking to ensure that this case was addressed in a manner totally devoid of any politicization or mediatization that would be prejudicial to the course of the judicial proceedings in the Kingdom and therefore, in pursuit of its policy of cooperation with the international human rights mechanisms in conformity with the relevant internationally recognized principles and practices, on 3 June 2019 it had provided Ms. Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with a detailed interim report thereon.

Minister Al-Jubeir concluded his statement by emphasizing that the Kingdom would never accept any attempt whatsoever to encroach on its sovereignty; it categorically rejected any attempt to influence or divert this case from its course in the Kingdom's judicial system and would never accept any attempt to prejudice or run down the Kingdom's leadership or interfere in the work of its independent judicial institutions.