Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was a premeditated crime, Saudi prosecutors say

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Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince has said the case of Jamal Khashoggi was "painful" and a "heinous crime that can not be justified", following the Saudi journalist's killing at the country's consulate in Istanbul.

It has emerged that Mr Khashoggi's son has left Saudi Arabia and is on his way to the United States.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country's de facto leader, has denied having knowledge of the mission and on Wednesday promised to bring those responsible to justice.

How Western allies deal with Riyadh will hinge on the extent to which they believe responsibility for Khashoggi's death lies directly with the prince and the Saudi authorities.

"This brutal murder of a journalist, of an innocent man or a dissent will not go without an American response" Pence said, adding that there probably would be an global response as well.

Saudi state news agency SPA said on Thursday that Prince Mohammed had presided over the first meeting of a committee to carry out that restructuring.

But he hardened his stance on Tuesday, saying Saudi officials had engaged in the "worst coverup ever" and that those behind the killing "should be in big trouble". The execution was frightful.

"There should have never been an execution or a cover-up, because it should have never happened", Trump told reporters on Tuesday.

While Turkish officials, speaking anonymously, and some senior US lawmakers have suggested the crown prince himself likely had a role in approving the killing, a confident sounding Prince Salman vowed on Wednesday that the kingdom run by his family for nearly 100 years would help get to the bottom of what he called a "heinous crime".

Saudi Arabia acknowledged Khashoggi's death inside the consulate but says he was accidentally killed in a physical altercation with a team sent to negotiate his return to the kingdom.

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"We will prove to the world that the two governments (Saudi and Turkish) are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail", Prince Mohammed said.

President Donald Trump had enthusiastically endorsed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman's consolidation of power, with the 33-year-old forging a close, chatty relationship with Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

However, Riyadh did not say where the body of Khashoggi was taken.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before departing the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on October 22, 2018. We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable. Khashoggi, who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for almost a year before his death, had written critically of Prince Mohammed's crackdown on dissent. British Prime Minister Theresa May said its Saudi arms sales were "under review", a stance similar to that expressed by Australia.

But Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Madrid would fulfill its commitment to sell Riyadh 400 precision bombs despite his "dismay" over the "terrible murder" of Khashoggi.

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was "premeditated", Saudi state-run media reported on Thursday.

Saudi official claim Khashoggi died in a fistfight involving more than a dozen Saudi officials at the country's consulate in Istanbul.

The killing of a journalist has abruptly transformed Saudi Arabia's crown prince from a partner to a liability in the eyes of Washington - which nonetheless now enjoys more leverage over the ambitious heir apparent.

A Turkish official previously confirmed that investigators had broadened their search for Khashoggi's body to wooded areas around the city. "To cover up such savagery would hurt the human conscience".

From 2008 to 2017, Saudi Arabia was the second biggest purchaser of French arms, with deals totalling 11 billion euros ($12.7 billion), including 1.5 billion euros previous year alone.

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