The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, thus contradicting the government’s claims that the de facto ruler was not involved in the killing, reported the The Washington Post.
As per reports, the conclusion is based on multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman had with Khashoggi. The evidences are based on the quotes of people familiar with the matter who spoke on anonymity.
Khalid reportedly told Khashoggi that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and also assured that it would be “safe to do so”.
Quoting a senior US official CNN reports that the investigators believed that an operation such as the one that ended in journalist’s death would not have happened without Khalid’s knowledge given his control of the government.
However, Khalid rubbished all the news reports, saying on Twitter that he had never spoke to Khashoggi on phone.
As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017. I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim.
— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) November 16, 2018
“I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim,” Khalid wrote.
He also claimed that the last contact he had with Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26, 2017.
Earlier, United States has placed economic sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly involved in dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi‘s murder, including top aide of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saud al-Qahtani, Al Jazeera reported.
The sanctions include travel bans which are already in place and freezing of assets which prohibits any American to do business with them.
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, had earlier said that Khashoggi’s killing is now a legal case and should not be politicized after the public prosecutor said it would seek the death penalty for five suspects.
“The politicization of the issue contributes to a fissure in the Islamic world while the kingdom seeks the unity of the Islamic world,” he told reporters in the capital, Riyadh.
Last month, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called the killing a “political murder”, adding that international investigators should be included in the probe.