May urged to intervene in Saudi executions as figures show arms sale bonanza
Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to talk to the UK’s Saudi allies about forthcoming executions as new figures show £3.3 billion worth of arms sales to the Gulf regime have been licensed in the past three years alone.
The human rights charity Reprieve has warned that 14 men, including one arrested as a minor, are set to be executed by the Saudi authorities for cybercrime offenses.
MPs, including former Labour leader Ed Miliband, have signed a letter to the PM asking her to try and intervene to stop the sentences being carried out.
Reprieve and the MPs have both warned that the men, who allegedly signed confessions under torture, could have been caught and held by Saudi personnel who had received training by UK security forces.
Tory MP Andrew Mitchell and the Liberal Democrats’ Tom Brake also signed the letter which asks May “to take urgent steps to confirm that UK assistance played no role in these individuals' conviction under Saudi Arabia's anti-cybercrime law.”
They called for a "full account to Parliament of any and all UK training for Saudi police and criminal justice institutions.”
In a 2016 report, Reprieve said that the training may been used to "identify individuals who later go on to be tortured or subjected to other human rights abuses.”
The call comes as the government used the traditional ‘take out the trash day’ – the last day before Parliament ends for summer recess – to release a range of concerning figures.
These include government reports that Saudi Arabia is high among countries where the British Foreign Office has “deep concerns about the application of the death penalty.”
Despite this, figures also show that in the last two years the UK has licensed the sales of up to £3.3 billion (US$4.3 billion) in arms and military equipment to the Saudis.