US senators convinced of Saudi crown prince’s role in Khashoggi murder

TEHRAN, Dec. 05 (MNA) – After a classified CIA briefing on Tue., US Senators voiced confidence that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Bob Corker, the Tennessee senator who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he believed Prince Mohammed “ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening, planned it in advance”, according to Financial Times.

“If the crown prince went in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes,” he added.

Corker stressed that there was “no question in my mind” that the crown prince had ordered the killing.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, told reporters after the CIA briefing that Prince Mohammed “is a wrecking ball,” adding “I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.”

Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the Appropriations Committee chairman, was quoted by the NY Times as saying that “all evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince.”

The CIA briefing stands in a stark contrast to the White House’s defense of the crown prince. President Donald Trump had said in a Nov. 20 statement that “we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi…in any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

US defense secretary, James Mattis, had insisted that there was no “smoking gun” regarding the culpability of Bin Salman, but Corker said you would have to be “willfully blind” not to see the evidence.

Jamal Khashoggi, who had been critical of the crown prince, was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October. Following weeks of denial of any involvement in Khashoggi's case, Saudi Arabia eventually acknowledged the “premeditated” murder, but dismissed the involvement of Bin Salman in the assassination. A Saudi prosecutor said Khashoggi’s body had been dismembered and removed from the diplomatic mission. The CIA's report has concluded that the crown prince was behind the killing.

News Code 140225


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