September 26, 2019

Khashoggi murder happened under my watch, Saudi crown prince says in new documentary
Saudi Arabia's crown prince said he bears responsibility for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by Saudi operatives "because it happened under my watch," according to a PBS documentary to be broadcast next week. Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, has not spoken publicly about the killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The CIA and some Western governments have said he ordered it, but Saudi officials say he had no role. The death sparked a global uproar, tarnishing the crown prince's image and imperilling ambitious plans to diversify the economy of the world's top oil exporter and open up cloistered Saudi society. He has not since visited the United States or Europe. "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. The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi After initial denials, the official Saudi narrative blamed the murder on rogue operatives. Eleven Saudi nationals have been charged over his murder, with the prosecutor recommending the death penalty for five of the men.  Asked how the killing could happen without him knowing about it, Smith quotes Prince Mohammed as saying: "We have 20 million people. We have 3 million government employees." How the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi unfolded Smith 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. A senior US administration official told Reuters in June the Trump administration was pressing Riyadh for "tangible progress" toward holding to account those behind the killing ahead. Eleven Saudi suspects have been put on trial in secretive proceedings but only a few hearings have been held. A UN report has called for Prince Mohammed and other senior Saudi officials to be investigated. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.
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