By Aishat Salihu
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has said he bears responsibility for the killing of a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 by Saudi operatives “because it happened under my watch,” according to a PBS documentary to be broadcast next week.
According to Reuters’ reports, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has not spoken publicly about the killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, the CIA and some Western governments have said he ordered it, but Saudi officials say he had no role.
“It happened under my watch. I get all the responsibility because it happened under my watch,” he told PBS’ Martin Smith, according to a preview of a documentary.
“The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” set to air on Oct. 1, ahead of the one-year anniversary of Khashoggi’s death.
Recall that, the official Saudi narrative had initially denied its involvement while blaming the murder on rogue operatives.
Also, the public prosecutor said the then-deputy intelligence chief ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a royal insider who became an outspoken critic, but the lead negotiator ordered him killed after discussions for his return failed.
Saud al-Qahtani, a former top royal adviser whom Reuters reported gave orders over Skype to the killers, briefed the hit team on Khashoggi’s activities before the operation, the prosecutor said.
Smith quotes Prince Mohammed as saying: “We have 20 million people. We have 3 million government employees” when asked how the killing could happen without the crown prince knowing about it.
He, however, asked whether the killers could have taken private government jets, to which the crown prince responded: “I have officials, ministers to follow things, and they’re responsible.”
“They have the authority to do that,” Smith describes the December exchange, which apparently took place off-camera, in the preview of the documentary.