Saudi Arabia’s crown prince appeared to accept responsibility for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He told US television channels a few months later that it “happened under my watch”, but denied any prior knowledge.
According to quotes revealed now ahead of a new PBS documentary to be aired next week, Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a reporter in December 2018, “I get all the responsibility, because it happened under my watch.”
When asked about why he had “no knowledge” about the murder, the prince replied, “We have 20 million people. We have three million government employees.”
When he was pressed on how a team could take one of the royal planes to Istanbul to carry out the killing, he said, “I have officials, ministers to follow things, and they’re responsible; they have the authority to do that.”
Riyadh, a royal family insider turned critic, has repeatedly denied that Prince Mohammed was behind the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed in what Saudi authorities have described as a rogue operation.
In the PBS comments, Prince Mohammed – better known by his initials MBS – insisted that the killing was executed without his knowledge.
A report by a UN human rights expert, who conducted an independent probe, said there was “credible evidence” linking the crown prince to the murder and an attempted cover up. The CIA has also reportedly said that the killing was likely ordered by Prince Mohammed.
But Saudi prosecutors have absolved the prince and said that around two dozen people implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against five men.
Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has come under immense international pressure after the US-based writer was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His body was never found.