Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing for the first time on Wednesday. According to CNN, the prince spoke at an investment conference in Riyadh when he took time to address the murder and vow to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Saudi Arabia will go and implement all necessary rules and investigate deeply in order to achieve results and to bring to justice those who were responsible for this heinous crime, and they will be put before the courts. There’s no doubt,” he said.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a regular columnist for the Washington Post and a vocal critic of the Saudi government, was killed at a Turkish consulate in Istanbul earlier this month on October 2, sparking outrage across the world. The prince and his associates have been blamed for Khashoggi’s death, but Saudi officials didn’t recognize the journalist’s death until recently.
In an official statement from the state-run media, Saudi leaders claim to believe that Khashoggi was killed during a fistfight after an interrogation that went horribly wrong.
The Crown Prince said that Khashoggi’s murder has been difficult for everyone.
“This was a very, very painful incident for all Saudis and also for everybody on this planet. It was unnecessary,” he said at the conference.
The prince also said that he believes Khashoggi’s murder is part of an attempt to create a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
“We know that many are trying to use this painful thing to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey… Justice will be seen in the end,” he said.
JUST IN: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will take part in a panel at Riyadh's investment conference today, a senior organizer told CNN, in what will be his first public speech since slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi was declared missing https://t.co/dCrx4QBOAW
— CNN International (@cnni) October 24, 2018
Officials have reportedly told CNN that there is little chance Khashoggi’s murder could have taken place without bin Salman’s direct knowledge.
The Washington Post also revealed on Wednesday that a Saudi consular vehicle was seen at a nearby wooded area the night before Khashoggi was murdered. Surveillance footage shows a car in the area near the consulate on October 1, which Turkish authorities say indicated the murder was planned in advance and not part of a fight during the journalist’s interrogation.
I thought the crown prince and his government said Khashoggi safely left the embassy weeks ago and no one knew what happened. https://t.co/fnmRQb6k9P
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) October 24, 2018
Earlier, Donald Trump, who has been criticized for being too soft on the Saudi government, told the Wall Street Journal that the prince must carry the ultimate responsibility for Khashoggi’s death. Trump’s comments are his toughest yet on the murder.
“Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him,” Trump said.