Why The Missing Saudi Journalist Case Is So Delicate For The UK Government

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The mysterious case of a Saudi Arabian journalist who went missing last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has so far provoked a mild response from UK authorities – despite Turkish officials saying they have evidence he was murdered by his own government.

Jamal Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Gulf state’s rulers who fled the country last year, has not been seen or heard from since he entered the building last Tuesday – and there is no evidence that he ever left.

Turkish officials have concluded he was killed inside the consulate on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi leadership, according to The New York Times.

Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, cautiously commented on the incident on Tuesday, saying he would “treat the incident seriously” but stressing the “friendships [that] depend on shared values” between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

In a statement on Sunday Hunt went no further, only saying the incident is being treated with the “the utmost seriousness” and calling for a “credible investigation”.

Compare this to the response Boris Johnson gave as Foreign Secretary when it was believed journalist Arkady Babchenko had been shot dead by Russia (he later turned up alive in a bizarre police sting).

Saudi Arabia has a dismal record on human rights – the latest report from Human Rights Watch paints a picture of a country with very few of the “shared values” that Hunt refers to in his tweet.

The accusations include the “arbitrary arrest of peaceful dissidents”, “systematic…

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