18 thoughts on “Saudi prisoner flogging and the British government

  1. Pingback: Saudi prisoner flogging and the British government | renematosruiz6663

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  12. Saturday 30th January 2016

    posted by Paddy McGuffin in Britain

    Just Solutions branded ‘morally dubious’ and ‘waste of cash’

    A NOW defunct arm of the government which bid for a contract to provide support to Saudi Arabia’s notorious prison system was a waste of taxpayers’ money and morally dubious, MPs said yesterday.

    Just Solutions International (JSi), the commercial arm of the National Offender Management Service, was shut down last year by Justice Secretary Michael Gove amid a bitter political row over the contract to train Saudi prison staff.

    As late as last September, the government said it planned to press ahead with the Saudi prisons bid, despite long-standing concerns over the use of torture and a surge in the number of executions in the kingdom.

    Ministers initially said they could not abandon the bid without incurring “financial penalties.”

    However, after being forced to backtrack on this claim, they instead asserted that “withdrawing at this late stage would be detrimental to [the government’s] wider interests.”

    Now an investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that, in the three years it was operational, JSi generated less than £1million in income for the taxpayer, despite having costs of £2.1m.

    Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons public accounts committee, which oversees the work of the NAO, said the losses had been sustained despite a commitment that JSi would be self-funding.

    “I am concerned by the loss of taxpayers’ money on this failed venture, and the Ministry of Justice’s ongoing work with countries with questionable human rights records,” she said.

    Amnesty International UK government and political relations manager Lucy Wake said: “On top of the apparent waste of money, there are still a host of unanswered questions about this ill-fated project.

    “It was never clear what human rights safeguards or training were ever going to be built into this murky deal — for example, would UK contractors have been actively trying to challenge and prevent human rights violations in countries with notoriously abusive justice systems, not least in Saudi Arabia?

    “It’s worrying that ministers appeared to go largely under the radar to set the project up, even at a time of huge public concern at the UK’s overly cosy relationship with Saudi Arabia.”



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