Saudi Arabia isn’t a place that likes to share its secrets. The conservative Islamic kingdom is veiled, its government opaque – a difficult place to investigate the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who dared to criticize this country’s all-powerful rulers.
In early October, Saudi Arabia denied that it murdered or abducted Khashoggi. By Oct. 20, Saudi Arabia finally admitted Khashoggi had died inside the Saudi consulate. By November, a spokesman for Saudi’s top prosecutor claimed, for the first time, that Khashoggi was killed by a lethal injection.
But one thing that’s never changed is Saudi Arabia’s vehement denials that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved, though that hasn’t put a stop to widespread suspicions that he’s culpable. To explain its version of events, that Khashoggi’s killers were Saudi officials gone rogue, the kingdom brought out its suave, American-educated foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir.
“His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has nothing to do with this issue,” Al-Jubeir said.
The Saudi government desperately wants to go back to business as usual. At the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh last week they were touting Saudi innovation.
The young prince’s shadow is everywhere. We’d like to ask ordinary Saudis what they think about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and allegations that the crown prince was somehow involved but many people here are simply too fearful to speak openly and that problem has gotten worse since the crown prince came to power.
The prince portrays himself as a reformer. Over the last year we’ve witnessed women finally granted the right to drive, more mingling between the sexes, and even rock bands allowed to perform openly.
But that hasn’t translated into political freedom – and the proof of that may be what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
Over the past four years,CBS News correspondent Holly Williams has reported inside Saudi Arabia, witnessing changes that many thought would never come. Take a look at some of her reports: