UK to 'revoke Saudi suspects' visas today' over Jamal Khashoggi's death, Theresa May says

PM adds Saudi claim Mr Khashoggi died in a 'fight' does not amount to a credible explanation

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 24 October 2018 13:33
Saudi visas to be revoked today

Theresa May has announced the UK government will today revoke visas of suspects related to the killing of the Saudi journalist and dissident, Jamal Khashoggi.

The action comes after the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dismissed the kingdom's efforts to blame Mr Khashoggi's death within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on "rouge operatives".

Ms May, who will later speak with King Salman of Saudi Arabia over the killing, told MPs gathered in the Commons that the government condemned the killing of the Washington Post journalist in the "strongest possible terms".

She said ministers have made clear that the Saudi officials must "cooperate with Turkey and conduct a full and credible investigation".

She continued: "The claim that has been made that Mr Khashoggi died in a fight does not amount to a credible explanation, so there does remain an urgent need to establish exactly what has happened."

"The home secretary is taking action against all suspects to prevent them entering the UK and if these individuals currently having visas, those visas will be revoked today."

The action from the prime minister was announced following a demand from the SNP's Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, to suspend arms sales to the kingdom in the wake of the murder and the on-going brutal war in Yemen.

Before Ms May's announcement, the former deputy prime minister, Michael Heseltine, had also urged Britain and other western powers to "take a stand" over Mr Khashoggi's death.

"In this particular case I haven't the slightest doubt that the Western allies have got to take a stand over the butchering of Mr Khashoggi," Lord Heseltine told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"That's a scandalous thing to do and we cannot be in a position where we are criticising the Russians for the Salisbury incident and then stand back and allow ourselves to be associated with this event in Turkey.

"At the moment no-one has been able to prove - although they are trying and they may succeed - the connection between the Saudi government and this appalling event, but events are moving in that direction."

The Saudis finally admitted at the weekend that Mr Khashoggi - who has not been seen since entering the consulate on October 2 - is dead but said he was killed accidentally in a "fight".

That explanation has been dismissed by the Turkish authorities, who say he was tortured, killed and his body dismembered by a 15-man hit squad sent from Riyadh.

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