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British Police May Have Helped Saudi Gov’t Arrest Men on Death Row
British Police May Have Helped Saudi Gov’t Arrest Men on Death Row

British Police May Have Helped Saudi Gov’t Arrest Men on Death Row

British Police May Have Helped Saudi Gov’t Arrest Men on Death Row

Training by British police may have directly helped Saudi agents arrest more than a dozen people now believed to be facing execution.

MPs including ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband have written to Theresa May asking her to “personally urge” the Saudi royal family to halt the killings, the Independent reported.

Human rights charity Reprieve said the 14 prisoners included a disabled man and a student, Mujtaba al-Sweikat, arrested in 2012 when he was only 17.

The prime minister must “take urgent steps to confirm that UK assistance played no role in these individuals’ conviction”, the MPs wrote, according to the BBC.

Conservative Andrew Mitchell and Liberal Democrat Tom Brake also signed the letter, which demands a “full account to parliament of any and all UK training for Saudi police and criminal justice institutions”.

Brake raised the issue in an urgent question to parliament earlier this week.

He said: “How we respond to the threat of summary executions by a partner and close ally will determine exactly what kind of global nation the PM intends the UK to be - a global champion of human rights or an apologist for human rights abusers.”

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt replied: “The UK government opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country including Saudi Arabia.”

In the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury also pleaded with May to intervene.

The Rev Justin Welby said the “depth” of the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in areas like trade and finance offered options “for significantly more leverage than mere condemnation”.

Answering for the government, Baroness Goldie said Saudi Arabia was aware of the UK’s concerns, but it was a “sovereign state” and it was not possible for the UK to “interfere with either its judicial system or its constitutional approach to these matters”.

She told peers: “We can make clear, as we do, our profound disapproval and opposition to abuses of human rights and the use of the death penalty.”

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