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15 Mar, 2016 10:34

Saudi executions: Cameron must rescue death row juveniles, says Reprieve

Saudi executions: Cameron must rescue death row juveniles, says Reprieve

Three Saudi juveniles arrested for protesting, tortured into confessing and sentenced to death could still be saved if British Prime Minister David Cameron intervenes, according to human rights charity Reprieve.

The Saudi regime is planning to “complete” its mass execution of 47 prisoners, which began in January, by executing a further four individuals convicted by the shadowy Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), allegedly on the basis of confessions extracted through torture.

It is feared that Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher, all arrested as juveniles during protests in the east of Saudi Arabia, will be among those executed.

Reprieve has written to the UK Prime Minister requesting he intervene and request the Saudi government – a close British strategic ally and trading partner – to commute the sentences.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond recently said he “did not expect” the death sentences to go ahead. It is a view Reprieve do not share after the January mass execution.

Though Philip Hammond and David Cameron claim to have received assurances from the Saudi government that these juveniles will not be put to death, the executions of Ali, Dawood, and Abdullah once again appear imminent,” Reprieve’s head of death penalty team Maya Foa said in a statement.

It is too late to save the peaceful protestors and juveniles killed in January’s mass execution, but David Cameron can still act to ensure that the UK does not allow more children, convicted on sham terrorism charges, to be executed in Saudi Arabia,” she added.

The UK’s business relationship with the Saudi theocracy is currently under scrutiny.

On Monday it was announced that a new parliamentary inquiry would examine the role UK-made weapons have played in the ongoing Saudi war in Yemen.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade’s (CAAT) Andrew Smith said he welcomed the new inquiry.

We welcome the announcement of an investigation, but these arms sales should never have been allowed in the first place,” said Smith.

“It is one of the most repressive regimes in the world and has unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe on Yemen, yet it has enjoyed uncritical political and military support from the UK.”