'Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death'

There is ''credible evidence'' Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and he should be investigated, a UN human rights expert has said.

The 101-page report into the October killing of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul lays out dozens of recommendations, including calling on UN bodies or Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “demand” a follow-up criminal investigation.

The report said Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over Jamal Khashoggi's death. Credit: PA

The UN report comes just months after the US Senate passed a resolution stating that Prince Mohammed is responsible for the killing of Mr Khashoggi.

Senators unanimously passed the resolution in a direct rebuke to the Crown Prince and called for the Saudi Arabian government to “ensure appropriate accountability”.

Wednesday's controversial recommendations were made by Agnes Callamard, an independent UN human rights expert tasked with looking at the death of the Saudi journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi died inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul in October. Credit: PA

Mr Khashoggi wrote critically of Prince Mohammed in columns for The Washington Post before he was killed.

After denying any knowledge of Mr Khashoggi’s death for weeks, Saudi authorities eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed in an operation masterminded by former advisers to Prince Mohammed.

The kingdom denies the Crown Prince had any involvement.

In her report, Ms Callamard noted the “extreme sensitivity” of considering the criminal responsibility of the Prince Mohammed, as well as Saud Alqahtani, a senior adviser to the Saudi royal court who has not been charged.

“No conclusion is made as to guilt,” she wrote of the two men.

“The only conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further investigation.”

She wrote that there was “no reason why sanctions should not be applied against the crown prince and his personal assets” — noting that sanctions regimes have been put in place in the past even before guilt was determined.

But she played down the focus on a single person, writing: “The search for justice and accountability is not singularly dependent on finding a ‘smoking gun’ or the person holding it.”

She wrote that her focus was mainly on identifying those who may have failed in or abused their positions of authority.

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi Credit: AP

Eleven people are on trial in Saudi Arabia in connection with Mr Khashoggi's death, in largely secret proceedings, and five could face the death penalty.

Ms Callamard wrote that she obtained access to a recording of the killing on October 2.

She said she had received information about a “financial package” offered to Mr Khashoggi’s children, “but it is questionable whether such package amounts to compensation under international human rights law”.

Ms Callamard noted limitations on her inquiry, which began in January.

She received no response to her request to travel to Saudi Arabia.

She wrote that she had received only a total of 45 minutes of tapes recorded within the consulate around the time of the killing, while Turkish intelligence had referenced some seven hours of recordings.

The report offers gruesome, nearly minute-by-minute accounting of the events surrounding the killing, and cites sounds of a buzzing saw that could have been used to dismember Mr Khashoggi’s body.

She also identified by name 15 suspects in the case.

The US State Department has publicly designated 16 people for their roles in the killing of Mr Khashoggi.

Many US politicians have criticised President Donald Trump for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the journalist’s killing.