Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has said in a TV interview that he takes “full responsibility” for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a leader of the kingdom, but denies claims he ordered the killing.
Mohammed Bin Salman (pictured) told US programme 60 Minutes that Khashoggi‘s killing was a “heinous crime” and a “mistake” by agents of the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people over the Washington Post columnist’s death and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on 2 October last year and never emerged. His body has never been found.
“This was a heinous crime,” Bin Salman, 34, told the programme.
“But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.”
Asked if he ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who had criticised him in columns for the Washington Post, Bin Salman replied: “Absolutely not.”
“Some think that I should know what 3m people working for the Saudi government do daily,” the crown prince said.
“It’s impossible that the 3m would send their daily reports to the leader or the second-highest person in the Saudi government.”
In an interview on Thursday, Khashoggi‘s fiancee Hatice Cengiz told the Associated Press that responsibility for his killing “was not limited to the perpetrators”.
She said she wanted Prince Mohammed to tell her: “Why was Jamal killed? Where is his body? What was the motive for this murder?”
Saudi Arabia initially offered several shifting accounts about Khashoggi’s disappearance.
As international pressure mounted, the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed by rogue officials in a brawl inside their consulate.
Picture: Mandel Ngan/Pool via Reuters