Khashoggi murder: Crown prince vows to punish ‘culprits’

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The Saudis have previously denied accusations that the prince himself had a role in the killing (AFP)

The Saudi crown prince has vowed to punish all the “culprits” responsible for the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

Speaking at a business forum in Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman said “the crime was painful to all Saudis” but he would never allow any rift with Turkey.

The Saudis have previously denied accusations that the prince, the de facto ruler, had a role in the killing.

Khashoggi died during a 2 October visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi government has blamed the murder on rogue agents.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the journalist, a prominent critic of the government, was the victim of a carefully planned “political murder” by Saudi intelligence officers and other officials.

These were his first public comments by the Prince since the Saudis admitted Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate.

He said the killing was “a heinous crime that cannot be justified” and vowed that “those behind this crime will be held accountable… in the end justice will prevail”.

He said there had been good co-operation with Turkey, adding: “A lot of people are trying to seize this painful situation to create a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And I want to send them a message: you will never be able to do that.

“The rift will never be there.”

First, Saudi Arabia said Khashoggi had left the building alive, then that he had been killed in a “fist-fight” inside the consulate.

It finally said that Khashoggi had been murdered in a “rogue operation” that the leadership had not been aware of.

An unnamed Saudi official told Reuters news agency on Sunday that Khashoggi had died in a chokehold after resisting attempts to return him to Saudi Arabia.

His body was then rolled in a rug and given to a local “co-operator” to dispose of, the official said. (Excerpts from BBC)

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