Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by his country's operatives happened under his watch, but without his knowledge, according to a PBS documentary to be broadcast next Tuesday.

The latest revelation on the sensational murder that evoked widespread revulsion and marred the image of the crown prince comes close to the first death anniversary of the journalist.

Prince Mohammed has been silent about his involvement in the operation, which the US spy network CIA concluded he ordered but the Saudis deny.

"It happened under my watch," the Saudi leader told Martin Smith of PBS, which is scheduled to air on October 1. "I get all the responsibility, because it happened under my watch." But he instituted that it was without his knowledge.

Immediately after Khashoggi's death on October 2018, Prince Mohammed called the killing "heinous" and promised that it would be investigated.

Murder Charge

Saudi authorities have charged 11 unnamed suspects over Khashoggi's murder, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of "ordering and committing the crime."

The public prosecutor said the then-deputy intelligence chief ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, but the lead negotiator ordered him killed after discussions for his return failed, Reuters said in a report.

Asked how the killing could happen without him knowing about it, Smith quotes Prince Mohammed as saying: "We have 20 million people. We have 3 million government employees."

Smith asked whether the killers could have taken private government jets, to which the crown prince responded: "I have officials, ministers to follow things, and they're responsible. They have the authority to do that."

Khashoggi, who was living in the United States, had gone to his country's consulate to collect documents for his planned wedding before he was killed and his body dismembered.

Both Turkey and CIA had earlier alleged Khashoggi's killing a "premeditated murder" orchestrated by the Saudi government.

Saudi officials have countered that claim, repeatedly blamed the murder on rogue operatives, after initially claiming he had left the building before vanishing.

Khashoggi's body has not been recovered and the Kingdom has remained silent on its whereabouts.