By Mustafa Kamil
ISTANBUL (AA) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has accepted responsibility for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but denied ordering the murder.
Asked in an interview with CBS News if he ordered Khashoggi’s murder, bin Salman said “absolutely not”.
“This was a heinous crime. But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government,” he said.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year. Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts but later blamed his death on a team of “rogue” operatives carrying out a botched rendition operation.
The killing has sparked international outcry with the UN calling for an investigation into the role of bin Salman in carrying out the operation in which the journalist's body was dismembered and removed from the building. His remains have not yet been found.
Asked about the CIA concluding he personally ordered Khashoggi’s killing, bin Salman said “I hope these information to be brought forward. If there is any such information that charges me, I hope it is brought forward publicly”.
"Today, the investigations are being carried out. And once charges are proven against someone, regardless of their rank, it will be taken to court, no exception made," he said.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara