Dr Mahathir: Soleimani assassination is unlawful, as bad as Khashoggi murder

Dr Mahathir warned of possible escalation of "what is called terrorism" following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AP

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has described the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani as an immoral act that is against the law, and compared it to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Dr Mahathir said the US action was not just against the laws of the country but also against the laws of the world.

"The act is akin to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi which happened across boundaries. This is also another act where one country decides on its own to kill the leaders of another country. Both are guilty of immoral acts, it is against the law, " he said when commenting on the incident on Tuesday (Jan 7).

Major-General Soleimani was killed in a US air strike near Baghdad International Airport on Jan 3.

Dr Mahathir also warned of possible escalation of "what is called terrorism" following what he described as "actions taken by this powerful gentleman", alluding to US President Donald Trump.

China and Saudi Arabia have called for calm following the incident, while analysts said that countries like Bahrain, Qatar and Oman's sovereign ratings would be the most vulnerable to protracted and wider conflicts in the Gulf following Maj-Gen Soleimani's killing.

Asked if he would continue to voice his views on the world stage, Dr Mahathir said he would continue to "point out the truth".

"I am not worried about who is strong and who is weak. If things are not right, I think I have the right to voice it out, " he said.

The killing of Maj-Gen Soleimani was carried out without any congressional oversight or approval, and the Trump administration has not been forthcoming with information on why he posted any immediate or imminent threat to the United States.

Mr Trump has also threatened that any retaliation by Iran would see US strikes on 52 Iranian sites, including cultural centres - which international observers have noted would be a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

Mr Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian author and columnist for The Washington Post who was tortured and whose body was dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2, 2018.

The Saudi government initially denied the death, but US intelligence agencies concluded his murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

On Dec 23, 2019, a Saudi court issued the death penalty to five officials, with three others receiving 24-year prison sentences, while not acknowledging the Saudi prince's role in the affair.

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