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UK 'prepares list of Saudi sanctions' over disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

2 min read

UK officials are drawing up a list of potential sanctions against Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it has been claimed.

The Foreign Office is said to be drafting a list of sanctions in case Theresa May invokes the “Magnitsky amendment”, which was passed by Parliament earlier this year.

That allows the Government to impose sanctions on officials from countries accused of human rights violations.

Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul nearly two weeks ago.

Turkish sources claim he was murdered inside the building, but Saudi officials deniy the allegation and insist he left the building soon after arriving.

Asked by The Independent to confirm or deny drawing up a list of sanctions, a Foreign Office spokesman said it had “nothing to add”.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said previously: “Across the world, people who long thought themselves as Saudi’s friends are saying this is a very, very serious matter.

“If these allegations are true there would be serious consequences.”

But a source told the paper: “Initially this was a position-paper scenario, now it is definitely being looked at as a real possibility.”

Saudi Arabia has come under increasing pressure over claims Mr Khashoggi was tortured and murdered inside his own nation’s Istanbul consulate earlier this month.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) confirmed on Friday that Riyadh had formed a joint team with Turkey to “uncover the circumstances of the disappearance” of Mr Khashoggi.

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