Saudi trial into Khashoggi killing not sufficient

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Netflix removed an episode of "Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj" in which Minhaj criticized the Kingdom's war in Yemen and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the slaughter of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, from its Saudi Arabian service.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his upcoming visit to Middle East including Qatar will underscore the need for GCC unity.

It is also seeking a solution to the war in Yemen between the legitimate government supported by a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi militias backed by Iran.

Ms Shamdasani confirmed that the High Commissioner's office had spoken "several times" to the Saudi authorities about the Khashoggi case, before underlining her office's stance on the Saudi Public Prosecutor's call for the death penalty.

That same broadly worded local law has been used by Saudi prosecutors to justify the jailing, torture and death of people who dare to speak out against the royal regime.

The rift is "unhelpful", another U.S. official said, opening a cleavage that Iran could exploit.

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"It's in their interest to pursue this as aggressively as they can to get this albatross off their backs and to get out from under the shadow of this incident, which has caused such an outcry".

It will be Pompeo's first trip to the region since President Donald Trump's recent announcement that he intends to withdraw United States forces from Syria.

A spokeswoman for the UN's top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, said on Friday that the trial is "not sufficient" and does not meet the requirements of an independent and worldwide enquiry.

Pompeo's trip, which also covers Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, came amid lingering tension in the region over the USA decision to withdraw troops from Syria, escalating confrontation with Iran among others.

In October, the press freedom watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked Saudi Arabia as 169th out of 180 countries for press freedom, adding that "it will very probably fall even lower in the 2019 index because of the gravity of the violence and abuses of all kinds against journalists".

At the same time, Washington wants its Middle East allies to shoulder more of the burden in maintaining regional security and stability, amid fears of a resurgence of extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State as USA forces pull back.

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