Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman accepted “full responsibility” for the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi but denied ordering the killing.
When asked if he ordered the killing, the crown prince told a US network on Sunday, “Absolutely not.”
He added that he took full responsibility for the incident that occurred one year ago, “since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government,” reported Al Jazeera.
Terming the killing as “heinous” the crown prince said: “This was a mistake. And I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future.”
Earlier this week, the crown prince said that Khashoggi’s murder “happened under my watch.”
On being asked how the murder could happen without his knowledge, Salman responded to PBS’ Frontline, as quoted by the interviewer, that his nation has “20 million people, 3 million government employees”.
When asked whether the killer could have taken private government jets, the Saudi Crown Prince said, “I have officials, ministers to follow things, and they’re responsible. They have the authority to do that.”
Khashoggi, who was a journalist with The Washington Post and a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, was killed on October 2 last year in Turkey where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce from his former wife Alaa Nassif in order to be able to marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
After presenting several contradictory theories, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate premises in what it had described as a “rogue operation”.
According to US intelligence agencies, Khashoggi’s murder was enacted upon orders given by Mohammad bin Salman.