Saudi explanation of Khashoggi death not credible: British minister

Britain's Brexit minister Dominic Raab appears on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in London, Britain October 21, 2018. Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul is not credible, Britain’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold.

Asked during an interview on BBC TV if he believed the explanation, Raab said: “No, I don’t think it is credible ... We support the Turkish investigation into it and the British government will want to see people held to account for that death.”

Raab said Britain needed to know the facts of what happened before it could make a “sensible and sober judgment call” on what to do next.

“We are not going to throw our hands in the air and terminate our relationship with Saudi Arabia, not just because of the huge number of British jobs that depend on it but also because if you exert influence over your partners you need to be able to talk to them,” he said.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by John Stonestreet