Speaking at an international investment conference in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has commented publicly for the first time since the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Yesterday the Saudi prosecutor too noted that the suspects of this crime had pre-meditated intentions.
While there has been a rush to judgement in quarters more interested in scoring political points or garnering headlines rather than in establishing clear and unassailable facts, the death of Khashoggi has been condemned as a “heinous crime” by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Indeed, King Salman Bin Adbul Aziz himself has also used the strongest possible language to condemn the killing of the journalist during an altercation at the consulate.
Let’s be clear on this — it is essential that the kingdom establishes the truth in this incident, that it is intent on bringing those responsible for Khashoggi’s death to justice and that they will face the consequences before Saudi Arabia’s courts for any and all illegal actions. The kingdom is committed to acting in a transparent manner, seeking justice and investigating the incident fully — and the comments by both King Salman and Prince Mohammad Bin Salman underscore that desire.
Saudi officials have already established that 18 individuals must answer legal charges for their actions. Should they be found legally culpable, they must face the fullest extent of criminal punishment for their wrongdoings.
While the incident took place in a property covered by normal diplomatic protocols, Saudi Arabia has agreed to work closely with Turkish authorities to get to the bottom of exactly what happened to Khashoggi and the kingdom has said it is cooperating fully with officials in Turkey in the interests of transparency and truthfulness.
There are too many critics who are too quick to point too many accusatory fingers when they are clearly not in full possession of facts — and this is not a time when half-baked conspiracy theories or the poor addition of one half-truth and one other suddenly make up five. No, the only course of action now is to let the official investigations unfold — without innuendo, half-truths, sensational headlines or the input of individuals with personal agendas and perceived wrongs to settle. Simply put, they should keep quiet and let the facts be established.
Saudi Arabia remains a key partner in the global fight against terrorism. It is a stabilising force across the region. Any attempt to tarnish the kingdom’s standing or undermine its leadership is foolhardy, shortsighted and erroneous.