Saudi Arabia 'sent agents to cover up Jamal Khashoggi's murder' in Istanbul

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Hunt's announcement came after Washington, which has long backed the Saudis, called for Riyadh to end its airstrikes in the country.

The delegation is presenting a report over the country's efforts to live up to its global human rights obligations, and will respond to questions and comments from countries around the world on its record.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in an op-ed in the Washington Post last week that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest level of the Saudi government and added that the global community had the responsibility to "reveal the puppet masters" behind the slaying.

Many US lawmakers have called for US weapons sales to be cut off in response to Mr Khashoggi's murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a step Mr Trump has rejected.

Saudi Arabia's conflicting accounts of Khashoggi's killing have prompted an global outcry against the world's top oil exporter, upending the young crown prince's worldwide image as a reformer. Oktay echoed the president's question in Monday's interview.

The Washington Post columnist was murdered after he went into the Saudi consulate in Turkey to finalize divorce paperwork so he could marry his fiance.

When asked by the interviewers if the USA should halt selling weapons to their Middle Eastern ally amid continuous reports of an indiscriminate Saudi-led bombing campaign, Trump replied: "We're looking at Yemen very carefully right now".

The joint Turkish and Saudi probe into Khashoggi's fate has made little progress so far.

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Aiban, who is president of the official Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom was constantly striving to promote and protect human rights "driven by the honourable principles and provisions of Islamic sharia and the traditional values of our society", said.

However, other reports submitted by United Nations committees and various NGOs paint a different picture, Brennan said.

Freedom of opinion and expression were guaranteed, but was limited by laws that protect the rights of others as well as the "prerequisites of national security and public order", he said.

The review also focused heavily on the use of the death penalty in the country, especially for alleged crimes committed when the perpetrator was under the age of 18.

An activist holds a sign and image of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration.

The half-day public debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva comes just over a month after the royal insider-turned-critic was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

However, he added: "As frightful as this event was, we can not turn our backs on the Saudi people as we work to help them in their continued efforts to reform and modernise their society".