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US Senator asks FBI to open inquiry into Khashoggi’s murder

Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia sends letter to FBI requesting investigation
Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washingon Post and Middle East Eye, was killed on 2 October 2018 (Reuters)

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee and US Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine sent a letter to the FBI asking them to open an investigation into journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

In the letter he sent on Wednesday, Kaine expressed support for last month’s UN investigation into Khashoggi’s death.

“I support the UN report’s recommendations and request that the FBI conduct an investigation into Saudi Arabia’s state-sponsored execution of Mr. Khashoggi,” Kaine wrote in the letter, which he later tweeted out.

The letter goes on to criticise US President Donald Trump for failing to take any action in the murder case of a US resident.

Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washingon Post and Middle East Eye, was killed on 2 October last year in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump has strongly defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA says ordered the murder of Khashoggi.

Bin Salman has denied any knowledge of the killing or its botched cover-up, which Riyadh has described as a "rogue operation".

In a detailed report into the murder released last month, UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard accused Saudi Arabia of being responsible for the crime, calling it a "state act" in violation of international law.

The document also put forward several recommendations for the US, including determining the possible involvement of bin Salman in the murder.  

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It also called for an FBI investigation into the killing and the declassification and release of relevant information in the possession of US intelligence agencies.

Acknowledging the limitations of her own investigation, Callamard said the US is uniquely positioned to pursue accountability for the murder because Khashoggi was a US resident who wrote for an American publication.

Khashoggi's murder caused international outrage, with US lawmakers condemning Riyadh and calling for sanctions against bin Salman.