Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has urged no exploitation of the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which tarnished his international reputation, for political gains, in an apparent veiled attack on Turkey, which presses Riyadh to disclose the body’s whereabouts.
Turkish officials were the first to report the killing of Khashoggi who disappeared after he entered the Saudi diplomatic mission in the Istanbul last year, and have pressed the kingdom for information on his dismembered body’s whereabouts.
“The death of Jamal Khashoggi is a very painful crime,” Mohammed said in an interview with pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat published on Sunday.
“Any party exploiting the case politically should stop doing so, and present evidence to the (Saudi) court, which will contribute in achieving justice,” the crown prince added, without directly naming Turkey.
He, however, said Saudi Arabia was keen to build strong relations with “all Islamic countries, including Turkey.”
Khashoggi, a former advocate of the Saudi royal court who later became a critic of bin Salman, was killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad after being lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported in November last year that the CIA had concluded that Mohammed personally ordered his killing. Riyadh strongly denies the allegation.
Riyadh spurned all the allegations linking the killing to bin Salman and instead claimed that the murder has been carried out by a “rogue” group.
Mohammed said his country was committed to “full justice and accountability” in the case.
In November, the kingdom’s Public Prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects for the killing.
The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, said Saudi Arabia’s investigation falls short of international standards.
In early January, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it could not assess the fairness of a trial underway in Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s murder.
In response to a question about the Saudi prosecutor’s demand for the suspects’ death penalty, the OHCHR Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the office calls for an independent investigation “with international involvement.”