WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018, according to a declassified US report.
Khashoggi, who was a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, was killed on October 2, 2018, in Turkey where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce from his former wife Alaa Nassif in order to be able to marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
His killing had brought international outrage and battered the reputation of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman. The report ‘Assessing the Saudi Government Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi’ was released on Friday (local time) by the US’ Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report read.
The ODNI said that they based the assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision-making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation.
“We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision-making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi,” it added.
The report was released a day after US President Joe Biden had a telephonic conversation with Saudi King Salman, though a White House summary of the conversation made no mention of the killing.
The Saudi prince said in 2019 he took “full responsibility” for the killing since it happened on his watch, but denied ordering it. Saudi officials have said Khashoggi’s killing was the work of rogue Saudi security and intelligence officials.
Saudi Arabian courts last year announced they had sentenced eight Saudi nationals to prison in Khashoggi’s killing. They were not identified.
The Biden administration released a report on the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a sign the new president will try to isolate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, The New York Times reported. (ANI)