Saudi prisoner flogging and the British government

This video says about itself:

How Saudi Arabia and ISIS Compare on Punishment

3 October 2015

74-year-old British man Karl Andree, who has been in jail for over a year, faces more than 350 lashes for possessing bottles of homemade wine bringing to light the harsh nature of Saudi Arabia’s legal punishments. How do Saudi Arabia and ISIS compare on punishment? Watch it on the Lip News with Elliot Hill and Mark Sovel.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

PM does U-turn on jails deal amid outcry at Saudi cruelty

Wednesday 14th October 2015

THE government has pulled out of a deal to sell prisons “expertise” to Saudi Arabia as a 74-year-old jailed Briton faces 350 lashes there for making wine.

The U-turn is a major embarrassment following a row between the Department of Justice, which wanted the deal cancelled, and the Foreign Office.

The government likes to tout its prisons know-how to several of the world’s most repressive regimes. The latest Saudi deal was worth £5.9 million.

It emerged yesterday that Briton Karl Andree was languishing in a Saudi prison awaiting 350 lashes for brewing his own wine.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced withdrawal of Britain’s bid for the prisons contract and said he would press for Mr Andree’s release.

Mr Andree’s son Simon said: “I’m pleased. It has taken an awful long time.”

He said he believed business dealings with Saudi Arabia seemed to have taken precedence over his father’s plight.

“He’s a British citizen — we have British citizens locked up around the world and it is the responsibility of the British government to help him.”

Former oil industry worker Mr Andree has lived in the Middle East for 25 years.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called in his autumn conference speech for the prisons contract bid to be scrapped.

Yesterday he said: “David Cameron has been shamed into a U-turn on this terrible contract — but why on earth was it set up in the first place?

“We should be sending a strong message to repressive regimes that the UK is a beacon for human rights and that this contract bid is unacceptable in the 21st century and would damage Britain’s standing in the world.”

And campaigners slammed the government for not pressing Saudi Arabia over its dismal human rights record.

Kate Higham, caseworker at human rights organisation Reprieve, said: “It is extremely welcome that the Prime Minister has dropped the Ministry of Justice’s Saudi prisons bid — the decision could not have come soon enough.

“This deal, if it had gone ahead, would have meant the UK was complicit in the same system that is threatening to execute juveniles Ali al-Nimr and Dawoud al-Marhoon for the ‘crime’ of protesting. Britain’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, however, remains extremely strong.”

Amnesty International spokesman Allan Hogarth said: “Many questions remain unanswered, what was the rationale behind pursuing a partnership with a prison system that doles out floggings, paralysis, amputations and beheadings?

“With blogger Raif Badawi who was publicly flogged at the start of this year sitting in one Saudi prison cell, young protester Ali al-Nimr awaiting execution in another and Brit Karl Andree dealing with the mental torment of being flogged in yet another, we need to be freely speaking out about Saudi prisons, not cosying up to Riyadh.”

Revealed: how UK targets Saudis for top contracts. Documents show that the controversial kingdom is seen as a ‘priority market’ for British companies: here.

18 thoughts on “Saudi prisoner flogging and the British government

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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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