By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – The U.K., France and Germany have condemned the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggy in a joint statement issued on Sunday.
The statement by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his French and German counterparts Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, respectively said the “violent death” of Khashoggi, within the premises of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul “had been feared” for many days but its confirmation still comes as a “shock”.
“Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” it said.
The statement went on to say that defending freedom of expression and free press are “key priorities” for the U.K., France and Germany and threatening, attacking or killing journalists is “unacceptable” under any circumstances.
Offering condolences to Khashoggi’s family, fiancee and friends, the foreign ministers said they “take note of the Saudi statement which gives their preliminary findings.”
“Yet there remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened on October 2nd – beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible,” the statement said.
Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
“We thus stress that more efforts are needed and expected towards establishing the truth in a comprehensive, transparent and credible manner,” the statement said.
“We will ultimately make our judgement based on the credibility of the further explanation we receive about what happened and our confidence that such a shameful event cannot and will not ever be repeated,” it added.
The three foreign ministers also called for the investigation "to be carried out thoroughly until responsibilities are clearly established and that there is proper accountability and due process for any crimes committed."