It's been 100 days since a hit squad sent from Riyadh killed journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Amnesty International Turkey on Thursday called for an international probe into his murder.

Members of Amnesty International Turkey gathered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Thursday, January 10, 2019 to mark 100 days since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate on October 2, 2018.
Members of Amnesty International Turkey gathered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Thursday, January 10, 2019 to mark 100 days since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate on October 2, 2018. (Reuters)

US lawmakers called on Thursday for Washington to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at one of the country's consulates in Turkey and vowed that Congress would act if the Trump administration did not. January 10 marked the 100th day since Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, never to be seen again.

More than a dozen senators and members of the House of Representatives, including both Democrats and Republicans, spoke at an event in the US Capitol complex to celebrate a free press and remember Khashoggi and more than 50 other journalists killed around the world last year.

Democrats deplored the lack of a strong response to Khashoggi's death from President Donald Trump's administration, saying ties to Saudi Arabia should not triumph over democratic values like free expression.

"If we decide commercial interests override the statements we make and the actions we take, then we must admit we have lost all moral authority," House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

US lawmakers have been clamouring for a response to Khashoggi's murder.

In December, several of Trump's Republicans joined Democrats to defy the president and pass Senate resolutions to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen and blame Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi's murder.

Amnesty International on Thursday called for an international investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in a ceremony marking the 100th day since his killing sparked global outrage.

"We once again call for an international investigation under the authority of the United Nations into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," Goksu Ozahishali, one of the rights group's Turkey representatives, said in a statement read out in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the scene of the killing.

A member of Amnesty International Turkey holds a symbolic street sign during a demonstration to mark 100 days since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
A member of Amnesty International Turkey holds a symbolic street sign during a demonstration to mark 100 days since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. (Reuters)

"We demand justice"

In a case that shocked the world Khashoggi, a US resident and Riyadh critic who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed by a hit squad sent from Riyadh which then dismembered his corpse inside the kingdom's diplomatic compound on October 2 last year.

"We demand justice for Jamal Khashoggi who fought for the freedom of expression in the Arab world," Ozahishali said.

Amnesty activists later symbolically hung a street sign reading "Jamal Khashoggi Street" where the Saudi consulate is located.

Several questions remain unanswered including the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains more than three months after the killing.

"It's absolutely shocking that 100 days later there are no real concrete steps to bring this murder to justice," Andrew Gardner, Amnesty's Turkey strategy and research manager, told AFP.

"Unfortunately the international community has been incredibly weak, and trade and diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia have taken precedence over fundamental human values," he said.

Members of Amnesty International gather in front of Saudi Arabian consulate on January 10, 2019 during a demostration in Istanbul.
Members of Amnesty International gather in front of Saudi Arabian consulate on January 10, 2019 during a demostration in Istanbul. (AFP)

After evidence emerged that the killing was done by a team of Saudis sent from Riyadh and closely linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the international community demanded a transparent investigation.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia have opened separate investigations into the killing but Ankara has repeatedly accused Riyadh of a failure to cooperate.

The US, CIA and Turkish officials have blamed the crown prince for the killing, which Saudi authorities categorically deny.

A trial of 11 suspects opened last week in Saudi Arabia. The prosecutor has demanded the death penalty for five of the accused whose identities have not been revealed.

Saudi Arabia ignored a call from Turkey that the suspects be extradited to Istanbul to stand trial there.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies