The UK Foreign Office has been drawing up a list of Saudi security and government officials on whom sanctions might be imposed pending the results of the probe into the high-profile disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, media reported.
The list could be used if London decided to resort to the so-called Magnitsky amendment which allowed the United Kingdom to introduce sanctions against foreign officials accused of human rights violations, the Independent newspaper reported, citing a source close to both Riyadh and London, on Friday.
“Instructions were given to Treasury and others to identify potential targets for sanctions if it is necessary, which I now am told has geared up considerably in the past 48 hours,” the source, who is a former government adviser briefed on the matter by a UK intelligence official and others, said.
The source added that the idea to draw up a Saudi sanctions list initially was a “position-paper scenario” but it was subsequently being looked at as a real possibility.
Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia’s policies, has recently been working for the US Washington Post newspaper. The journalist went missing in Turkey on October 2. According to his fiancee, Khashoggi was invited to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul but never left the diplomatic mission’s building.
Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, saying that the journalist had left the consulate. Riyadh is investigating into the journalist’s disappearance together with Ankara.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that Turkey had shared with the United States audio and video recordings suggesting the journalist had been murdered in the Saudi consulate. Moreover, the outlet reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud had sought to bring Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia and detain him there. Riyadh has called these claims baseless.