Boris Johnson given £14k freebie trip to Saudi Arabia two weeks before Jamal Khashoggi murder

The ex-Foreign Secretary had all his costs paid during a visit to Saudi Arabia in September

BORIS Johnson took a £14,000 all-expenses-paid freebie trip to Saudi Arabia just 10 days before they killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Sun can reveal.

The three-day trip, including lavish flights, hotels and dinners, was paid for directly by the kingdom’s ministry of foreign affairs. Saudi Arabia are under fire for their global PR (public relations) efforts to attempt to rebrand as a modern-outward looking state, with the help of key Western allies.

A source close to Mr Johnson said he “visited Saudi Arabia to discuss his long-standing campaign of improving education for women and girls.” The source added: “He has denounced the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and continues to believe that the UK must hold Saudi Arabia to account for this barbaric act.”

Mr Johnson's trip was paid for by the government headed by Prince Muhammad bin Salman (above)

Johnson’s trip was paid for by the government headed by Prince Muhammad bin Salman (above)

the column Johnson urged the kingdom to come clean over the incident, despite our “crucial commercial and security partnerships with Saudi Arabia”.

He wrote that it “is still true that the Crown Prince has the potential to reform his country — the custodian of the two holiest shrines of Islam — in a way that could be of huge benefit to the Muslim world”.

But he insisted the “UK and the US must lead other countries in holding Saudi Arabia properly to account. The body must be produced. The audio tape of the killing said to be held by the Turkish authorities — if it exists — should be made public.

“There can be no suggestion of a stitch-up, or of denying justice to Khashoggi and his family out of deference to Saudi sensibilities. The UK should prepare to sanction those involved in carrying out or authorising the brutal killing of this journalist, not least since journalists are now being killed around the world at an unprecedented rate.”

Amnesty International today blasted the ex-minister for his trip to Saudi Arabia.

Kate Allen, the charity’s UK boss, said: “Boris Johnson’s trip was right in the middle of a vicious human rights crackdown in Saudi Arabia. Johnson’s support for women and girls’ education in the Middle East is welcome, but he and others must speak out publicly about how Saudi Arabia systematically denies women their basic human rights.

“Johnson has lavished praise on the Saudi Crown Prince as a supposed reformer, which is a total misjudgement.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips added: “Recently I was asked if a company with links to Saudi could sponsor an event I was involved with — I’m not Boris Johnson so I said no.”

Saudi Arabia has for years sought to schmooze Western politicians and companies by hosting junkets and conference to boost the kingdom’s image. Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was until recently praised by many leading Western figures as a reformer thanks to his anti-corruption efforts and law change allowing women to drive for the first time.

Reported by The Sun

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