Tue, 20 Apr 2021

Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], February 27 (ANI): Saudi Arabia has categorically rejected the United States' report implicating Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman for approving the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, calling the assessment negative, false and unacceptable.

In a statement on Friday, the foreign ministry said the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions, Saudi Gazette reported.

The report 'Assessing the Saudi Government Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi', which was declassified on Friday, said Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018,The report was released by the US' Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Khashoggi, who was a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, was killed on October 2, 2018 in Turkey where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce from his former wife Alaa Nassif in order to be able to marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

His killing had brought international outrage and battered the reputation of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman.

The Saudi foreign ministry reiterated that the crime was committed by a group of individuals that have transgressed all pertinent regulations and authorities of the agencies where they were employed.

"The ministry reiterates what was previously announced by the relevant authorities in the Kingdom, that this was an abhorrent crime and a flagrant violation of the Kingdom's laws and values," the statement read.

"The relevant authorities in the Kingdom took all possible measures within our legal system to ensure that these individuals were properly investigated, and to ensure that justice was served. The concerned individuals were convicted and sentenced by the courts in the Kingdom, and these sentences were welcomed by the family of Jamal Khashoggi." the statement added.

The ministry said that It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the Kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime,"It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the Kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the Kingdom's leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again. The Kingdom rejects any measure that infringes upon its leadership, sovereignty, and the independence of its judicial system," the statement read.

The report was released a day after US President Joe Biden had a telephonic conversation with Saudi King Salman, though a White House summary of the conversation made no mention of the killing.

The Saudi prince said in 2019 he took "full responsibility" for the killing since it happened on his watch, but denied ordering it.

Saudi officials have said Khashoggi's killing was the work of rogue Saudi security and intelligence officials.

Saudi Arabian courts last year announced they had sentenced eight Saudi nationals to prison in Khashoggi's killing. They were not identified. (ANI)

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