The crown prince of Saudi Arabia has just made his first public statements about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
During a speech Wednesday at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the murder "a heinous crime" and said that those responsible would be brought to justice and "put before courts," reports CNN. His comments reinforced his claim that he had no prior knowledge of what he says was a rogue operation to capture and interrogate Khashoggi when he visited the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Saudi Arabia's story has shifted constantly over the past few weeks, and their claim that the intention was not to kill Khashoggi is in spite of the fact that one of the Saudis reportedly arrived to the consulate with a bone saw, and another left the building dressed in Khashoggi's clothes, seemingly in an attempt to make it look like Khashoggi left alive. U.S. officials have told CNN that such an operation would not have happened without the crown prince being aware of it.
Bin Salman also promised to "investigate deeply" the death of Khashoggi and lamented that some were trying to use "this painful thing" to "drive a wedge" between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, something he promised would not happen as long as he is crown prince, reports The Washington Post.
The crown prince was met with 18 applause breaks during his speech, during which he also joked about Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was detained in Saudi Arabia last year and reportedly forced to announce his resignation. Hariri is "going to be here for two days," bin Salman said. "I hope that rumors don't start that he's been kidnapped."