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Exclusive: U.N. expert to lead international investigation of Khashoggi murder

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations Special Rapporteur on out-of-court, summarized or arbitrary execution told Reuters on Thursday that she will travel to Turkey next week to lead an "independent international inquiry" in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi .

FILE PHOTO: Special Rapporteur for out-of-court, summarized or arbitrary execution of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Agnes Callamard attends a Human Rights Academic Forum at the Central American University of San Salvador, El Salvador on January 30, 2018. REUTERS / Jose Cabezas / File Photo

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents at his consulate in Istanbul on October 2, provoking an international outcry.

Earlier Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was time for an international investigation and that President Tayyip Erdogan had ordered preparations.

"I will conduct an independent international investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Mr. Jamal Khashoggi, starting with a visit to Turkey from January 28 to February 3, 2019," said independent UN investigator Agnes Callamard in an email answers to Reuters in Geneva.

Callamard said she would evaluate the circumstances of the crime and "the state's scope and scope" and the individuals' responsibility for the murder. "

" My findings and recommendations will be reported to the UN Human Rights Council in the June 2019 session , "she said.

The study was conducted at her request, and three experts would accompany her, with forensic expertise among other skills, she said and fell to mention them for now.

There was no immediate word about whether the team had sought access to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi prosecutor spokesman said last year that 21 Saudis were taken to prison in the case, 11 of which were accused and referred to trial. Earlier this month, the prosecutor said that it sought the death penalty for five of the 11 detained suspects

Callamard, a French graduate director of the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Initiative at Columbia Univer sity in New York, reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and has a global mandate to investigate executions.

Editing Janet Lawrence, William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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