Speaking for the first time ever over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to be taking the moral responsibility for the killing by saying it “happened under his watch”.
Denying any prior knowledge of the killing, Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a reporter in December 2018, according to quotes released ahead of a new PBS documentary to be aired on October 1, ahead of the first anniversary of the journalist’s death: “It happened under my watch. I get all the responsibility because it happened under my watch.”
The documentary, “The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia”, slated to be released next week, examines the Saudi leader’s rise, his rule and ties to the events surrounding Khashoggi’s murder. It also features never-before-seen interview footage of Khashoggi months before his death, explaining how he went from being a supporter of the Crown Prince to a critic.
MBS, prior to this, has never been heard publically speaking of the killing in the last one year, though a UN expert had on July 19, 2019, citing ‘credible information’, linked the Saudi Arabia crown prince to journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. He had stated that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated in the murder of Washington Post columnist and Kingdom critic Jamal Khashoggi.
In October, last year, the Turkish authorities had accused the Crown prince of Saudi Arabia of executing a premeditated homicide of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
A report by the special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, read that the “personal assets” should be targeted with sanctions until there is proof he was not responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Jamal Khashoggi, 58-year-old journalist, a US-based columnist for the Washington Post and prominent critic of Prince Mohammed, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017. He was a citizen of the USA, with bonhomie with many Trump administration officials. He had a huge twitter following.
Khashoggi incriminated Saudi of being complicit in aggravating humanitarian crisis going in Yemen, he also spoke vocally about sanctions against Canada for speaking on behalf of jailed activist like Raif Badawi along with many scathing comments.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, to obtain papers he needed to marry his fiancee Hatice Cengiz from where he suspiciously disappeared. According to reports, he was assassinated by Saudi government officials, inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. His fiancee was waiting outside the consulate when he was being killed.
Turkey was first to claim that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate, saying it had evidences including audio recordings. Initially, Saudi authorities had strongly denied the allegation. However, subsequently, the investigators concluded that Khashoggi was forcibly restrained after a struggle and injected with a large amount of a drug, which resulted in an overdose that led to his death.
In January 2019, the UN’s human rights office tasked Callamard with establishing “the nature and extent of responsibilities states and individuals for the killing”.
Though the senior Saudi officials insisted that Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue” operation, the Callamard’s report said Khashoggi was “brutally slain” inside the consulate that day and further concluded that it was “an extrajudicial killing for which the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible”.