Indonesia hopes for 'transparent and thorough' probe of dissident journalist's killing

Indonesia President Joko Widodo welcomes Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir at the presidential palace in Bogor on Oct 22, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - President Joko Widodo has expressed his concerns over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday (Oct 22).

The President, best known as Jokowi, also told Mr al-Jubeir that Indonesia hopes the investigation will be carried out "transparently and thoroughly", said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Ms Retno was speaking to reporters after Mr al-Jubeir had called on President Joko at Istana Bogor in West Java.

When pressed for more details of the discussion, she said the meeting did not go into specifics as she will be meeting her Saudi counterpart for bilateral talks on Tuesday in Jakarta.

Mr al-Jubeir's visit this week is a follow-up to the visit by Saudi King Salman to Indonesia in March last year. He is scheduled to sit down with Ms Retno for the first joint commission meeting between the two countries to review their cooperation in the past year.

His visit also comes just days after Saudi Arabia confirmed that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at its consulate in Istanbul, in a "rogue operation" that has sparked an international outcry.

Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was an outspoken journalist who once had close ties to the Saudi royal family.

Turkish intelligence sources have leaked information that strongly implicates Saudi Arabian government figures in the murder.

The Saudi foreign minister, in an interview on Fox News on Sunday, said the Saudi government does not know where the body of Mr Khashoggi is, although he referred to the killing as a "tremendous mistake".

He also said the Saudi leadership had initially believed Mr Khashoggi had left its consulate in Istanbul, where he was last seen on Oct 2.

Sceptics have questioned the official Saudi narrative that Mr Khashoggi was reportedly strangled during a fist fight with Saudi security officials after a confrontation in the consulate, including the flip-flopping by the Saudi royals over their knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts.

Indonesia's Alliance of Independent Journalists on Sunday called on the international community to monitor the legal process of the alleged murderers.

"Considering the scale of the case, the international community should take part in ensuring that the perpetrators are punished fairly and independently," the alliance's chairman Abdul Manan told The Jakarta Post. "The legal proceedings should be free from the bias of Saudi Arabia's national interests."

Mr Manan also said the case should be brought to an international court.

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) and the World Editors Forum, in a statement last Friday, also called for Saudi Arabia to provide answers on Mr Khashoggi's death.

Wan-Ifra called on the Turkish authorities to provide proof of their claims of Saudi involvement in the murder and also urged increased international pressure for a full, verifiable accounting from the Saudi monarchy on the events leading up to Mr Khashoggi's death.

The association also vehemently condemned the growing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists, noting that nine out of 10 journalist murders go unpunished.

It argued that if the allegation of a state-sanctioned killing of a critical journalist on foreign soil were proven, it should be met with universal condemnation and a genuine commitment to actively support efforts to improve the safety and security of journalists worldwide.

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