The crown prince of Saudi Arabia said he has responsibility for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by Saudi agents "because it happened under my supervision," according to a PBS documentary that will air next week.
Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, has not spoken publicly about the murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The CIA and some Western governments have said they ordered it, but Saudi officials say it had no role.
The death caused a global uproar, tarnishing the image of the crown prince and endangering ambitious plans to diversify the economy of the world's leading oil exporter and open the cloistered Saudi society. Since then he has not visited the United States or Europe.
“It happened under my watch. I have full responsibility, because it happened under my supervision, "he said. PBS ’ Martin Smith, according to a preview of a documentary, "The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia", which will air on October 1, before the first anniversary of Khashoggi's death.
After the initial denials, the official Saudi narrative blamed the murder of the dishonest agents. The prosecutor said the then deputy director of intelligence ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a royal member who became an open critic, but the chief negotiator ordered that he be killed after discussions about his return failed.
Saud al-Qahtani, a former senior royal advisor who Reuters According to reports, the prosecutor gave orders to Skype to the killers and informed the affected team about Khashoggi's activities before the operation.
When asked how the murder could occur without him knowing, Smith quotes Prince Mohammed saying: “We have 20 million people. We have 3 million government employees. "
"And can they take one of their planes?" Smith asked.
"I have officials, ministers to follow things, and they are responsible. They have the authority to do that," replied the crown prince.
Smith describes the December exchange, which apparently took place off camera, in the preview of the documentary.
A senior US administration official. UU. Said Reuters In June, the Trump administration pressured Riyadh to make "tangible progress" towards the accountability of those behind the murder.
Read: Nine key questions that Saudi Arabia has not answered about Khashoggi's murder
Eleven Saudi suspects have been prosecuted in secret proceedings, but only a few hearings have been held. A UN report has asked that Prince Mohammed and other senior Saudi officials be investigated.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where he had to receive the documents before his wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.