Saudi government beheads, British government waffles

This video, recorded on 12 January 2016 in England, is called Protesters in London demonstrate against Saudi executions.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Labour tells Gove to come clean on deals with Saudis

Tuesday 5th January 2016

JUDICIAL co-operation with Saudi Arabia is “inappropriate” after the British ally beheaded 47 prisoners, shadow human rights minister Andy Slaughter MP said yesterday.

In a letter to Justice Secretary Michael Gove,

Someone like Michael Gove, who has advocated bringing back the death penalty by hanging in Britain, cannot really be expected to be a strong opponent of the death penalty by beheading or crucifixion in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Slaughter demanded to know whether a prison partnership was still on the table between Britain and Saudi Arabia.

The reproach came after peace and human rights campaigners cried foul over the Tories’ feeble criticism of the Saudi government while still selling arms to the kingdom.

Referring to the memorandum of understanding on judicial co-operation signed by previous justice minister Chris Grayling, Mr Slaughter wrote: “I hope you agree with me that it would be inappropriate at present for the UK to be seen to be co-operating with the Saudi justice system.

“Serious concerns have been raised not only about the sentences and the manner in which the executions were carried out but also whether due process has been followed and the defendants received a fair trial.

“In particular, the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and three young Shia men whose offences appear to be taking part in political protests and demonstrations against the current government have caused dismay and outrage around the world.”

The government merely expressed “disappointment” over the mass executions, with Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood saying he was “deeply disturbed” at the growing rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

But Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith said the government’s stance was insufficient.

He added: “As long as Saudi enjoys the political and military support of the most powerful Western nations, then it will continue oppressing its own population and those of neighbouring states.”

Tensions within the war-ravaged Middle East have escalated sharply in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s January 2 mass executions of 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shia cleric who had criticized the ruling monarchy and its suppression of the country’s Shia minority population: here.

“Monstrous and irreversible injustice”: Human rights groups, experts condemn repression by Saudi Arabia. After mass beheadings of 47 people, human rights leaders challenge U.S. support for the extremist Saudi monarchy: here.

Britain: Saudi Arabia executions: Philip Hammond condemned by rights campaigners for ‘excusing’ mass killings. The Foreign Secretary says ‘just to be clear, these people were terrorists’ – despite at least four of the 47 being arrested over political protests. Rights groups say Britain continues to ‘parrot the propaganda’ of its Middle East ally: here.

US commitment to human rights on display as staunch ally executes 47: here.

Germany should review arms sales to Saudi Arabia – vice chancellor: here.

Dutch VVD politician Ten Broeke, apologist for Saudi government: here.

US-armed Saudi coalition cancels ceasefire, renews military onslaught in Yemen: here.

37 thoughts on “Saudi government beheads, British government waffles

  1. Pingback: Saudi government beheads, British government waffles | talib e nazar weekly

  2. Wednesday 6th January 2016

    posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

    THE Foreign Office rejected accusations yesterday that it put Britain’s allies ahead of human rights after Saudi Arabia was left off a list of countries to lobby against the death penalty.

    Rights campaigners cried foul when the strategy document, first published in 2010, failed to include the Saudi government, which executed 47 people in one go last week.

    But Westminster argued that the paper had long been out of date and that its 2015 Annual Human Rights Report already included Saudi Arabia.

    “This document is a general policy guide from 2011, rather than a case-by-case list of countries where the death penalty is applied, hence why it also doesn’t include North Korea,” said a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office.

    “The government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle and continues to raise concerns with the Saudi authorities at the highest levels.”

    Campaigners were not appeased, particularly as the original death penalty lobbying strategy had been sidelined.

    “With Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan all executing at a horrific rate, now is not the time for the UK to be abandoning its strategy on the death penalty,” said human rights group Reprieve’s Maya Foa.

    “Taken alongside the decision to stop classifying serious human rights offenders such as Saudi Arabia as ‘countries of concern,’ this raises suspicions that a desire to avoid embarrassing Britain’s ‘allies’ has taken precedence over standing up for basic British principles.

    “The government’s softly-softly approach to Saudi Arabia does not seem to be working — it is time for a rethink.”


  3. Saturday 9th January 2016

    posted by Paddy McGuffin in Britain

    HUMAN rights campaigners lambasted Philip Hammond yesterday after he refused condemn the Saudi Arabian execution of 47 people, including political protesters.

    The Tory Foreign Secretary dismissed the victims as “convicted terrorists” and argued that diplomatic intervention could only be effective in individual cases.

    Legal action charity Reprieve death penalty team leader Maya Foa welcomed his intervention on behalf of young protester Ali al-Nimr and other youths but said Mr Hammond was “alarmingly misinformed” about the mass execution.

    “Far from being ‘terrorists,’ at least four of those killed were arrested after protests calling for reform — and were convicted in shockingly unfair trials,” Ms Foa said.

    “The Saudi government is clearly using the death penalty, alongside torture and secret courts, to punish political dissent.”

    Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud has claimed that their trials had been fair and Saudi authorities sent a memo to all British MPs this week, seeking to justify Saturday’s mass execution.

    But Reprieve, which campaigns against the death penalty, said that, contrary to their claims, the 47 prisoners included at least four people who were arrested in relation to political protests.

    The killing of Shi’ite sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime who denied advocating violence, has caused widespread protests across the Shi’ite world.

    Reprieve claimed that the protesters were convicted in secretive trials in Saudi Arabia’s specialised criminal court, with defence lawyers often denied access to the courtroom and their clients.

    Three are still awaiting execution in relation to protests. Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher, remain in solitary confinement, and could be executed at any time.

    Mr Hammond said that Britain had been lobbying the Saudi authorities regularly for “assurances” that the death penalty would not be carried out in their cases.

    But Ms Foa said: “By refusing to condemn these executions and parroting the Saudis’ propaganda, labelling those killed as ‘terrorists,’ Mr Hammond is coming dangerously close to condoning Saudi Arabia’s approach.”

    Amnesty International UK head of policy and government affairs Allan Hogarth said: “The death penalty is wrong in all circumstances — no ifs or buts — and that’s a universal principle to which the UK claims to subscribe.”


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