Khashoggi's killing a heinous, unjustifiable crime: Saudi crown prince

Riyadh, Oct 25 (IANS): The crown prince of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called the killing of a prominent journalist at the Middle Eastern kingdom's consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul a heinous crime that cannot be justified.

Mohammed bin Salman told attendees at the Future Investment Initiative - popularly known as the "Davos in the Desert" summit - that the slaying of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi would not, however, drive a wedge between his country and Turkey, Efe reported.

"The crime was really painful to all Saudis and I believe it is painful to every human in the world," the heir to the Saudi throne said at the economic forum being held in Riyadh. "It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified."

"Today, Saudi Arabia is carrying all legal actions to finalize investigations in cooperation with the Turkish government and bring the perpetrators to justice," Bin Salman added.

This is the first time the prince has publicly addressed the case after Saudi Arabia admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi had died inside the Istanbul consulate, claiming that his death had resulted from a fistfight.

The international community has overwhelmingly met this explanation with considerable skepticism.

The remarks came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his government suspected the killing was premeditated and carried out by a 15-member hit squad flown in from the Arab country.

Khashoggi, himself a member of the Saudi elite, had been mostly critical of the crown prince - often referred to as MbS - ever since the latter was made the heir apparent in June 2017.