In an interview with 60 Minutes, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said he takes “full responsibility” for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The crown prince shoulders the responsibility because he said the crime was committed by Saudi government employees. Despite being linked by the CIA to the murder, he has denied authorizing or ordering the slaying of Khashoggi.
“If there is any such information that charges me, I hope it is brought forward publicly,” Mohammed stated in the interview with Norah O’Donnell.
The 60 Minutes interview aired days before the anniversary of Khashoggi’s death. It also comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is struggling to cope with the negative focus on the crown prince’s human rights policies and the country’s complex relationship with the United States.
Jamal Khashoggi was murdered last October 2, 2018, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He was believed to have been killed by agents from the kingdom. The journalist wrote columns for The Washington Post and he criticized the crown prince’s policies.
The crown prince has also denied any involvement in the killing in a documentary about him on PBS’s Frontline. In the interview, he made the same pronouncement of taking responsibility but has rebuffed accusations linking him to Khashoggi’s death.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman has addressed the issue linking him to the Khashoggi’s killing before.
“I get all the responsibility because it happened under my watch,” the crown prince told a reporter in December 2018.
Prosecutors from Saudi Arabia have said that two of Mohammed’s closest and trusted aids were involved in the plan to kill Khashoggi. The plot involved portraying the incident as a mishandled and mismanaged effort to bring Khashoggi back to the kingdom alive.
One of the aides embroiled in Khashoggi’s case is the former deputy chief of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, Ahmed al-Assiri. He is currently standing trial for the crime in Saudi Arabia.
Another persona involved in the crime was the former media advisor of the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani. However, he has not been charged with any crime.
In the Frontline documentary, the crown prince denied the involvement of his aids in the plot to murder Khashoggi. According to a high-level adviser of Mohammed who was quoted by the show, “prosecuting someone so close to the crown prince would be politically disruptive.”
“There isn’t clear information or evidence that someone close to me did something to that effect,” responded Saudi Arabia’s crown prince to statements made by prosecutors regarding the involvement of his close confidants have anything to do with Khashoggi’s killing.
In the same documentary, the Saudi crown prince has also addressed his kingdom’s repression of free speech.
“There is no threat from any journalist. The threat to Saudi Arabia is from such actions against a Saudi journalist,” the crown prince said.
The crown prince also spoke about attacks made on Saudi’s oil facilities this month. The attack is being blamed on Iran by both the United States and Saudi Arabia.
He was also asked about the torture of women’s rights activists who have been imprisoned by the government.
“If this is correct, it is very heinous. I will personally follow up on this matter,” addressing the claims made public last year and brought to the attention of authorities in Saudi.