Jamal Khashoggi murder: Saudis reject charge
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, popularly referred to as MBS, had approved an operation to capture or kill Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, a US intelligence report said, drawing a sharp rebuke from Riyadh.
“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the.... assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA after the US released the report on Friday.
The US, however, sanctioned some of those allegedly involved in Khashoggi’s murder but not the crown prince himself, sparking criticism from some sections of the American media.
“The crime was committed by a group of individuals that have transgressed all pertinent regulations... and the kingdom’s leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again,” the Saudi foreign ministry added.
“The ministry of foreign affairs affirms that the partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America is a robust and enduring partnership,” it said.
A Saudi Arabian court jailed eight people last year for between seven and 20 years over the murder of Khashoggi after his family forgave his killers and enabled death sentences to be set aside.
Khashoggi, who was a critic of the crown prince, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. His body was dismembered and removed from the building and his remains have not been found.
The US intelligence report said that given the crown prince’s influence, it was “highly unlikely” that the 2018 murder could have taken place without his green light. The killing also fit a pattern of “the crown prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad”.
UAE and Kuwait support Saudi Arabia’s position
The UAE and Kuwait have both backed Saudi Arabia’s position on the US intelligence report. The UAE foreign ministry “expressed its confidence in and support for the Saudi judiciary rulings, which affirm the kingdom’s commitment to implementing the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and holding all those involved in this case accountable,” state news agency WAM reported.
Kuwait’s foreign ministry said Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of King Salman and MBS, plays an important role in its rejection of violence and extremism, according to Kuwait News Agency.