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Saudi Authorities Still Haven’t Got the Message Over Prisons Contract

LONDON - The Saudi Arabian Ambassador has today complained that Britain’s cancellation of a bid to provide prison services to the Gulf kingdom was an example of “respect being breached.”

Writing in the Telegraph, Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz criticised “speculation linking the contract’s cancellation to a number of domestic events in the Kingdom,” – apparently a reference to the death sentences handed down to at least two children following anti-government protests, and the sentence of flogging handed to a British citizen.

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However, the Ambassador mentions neither the cases of Ali Mohammed al Nimr and Dawoud al-Marhoon, nor that of Karl Andree, by name.  Ali and Dawoud were both sentenced to death at the age of 17 in the wake of political protests, while Mr Andree was reportedly sentenced to flogging for alleged alcohol offences.

Commenting, Kate Higham, caseworker at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: “The Saudi Government’s misconceived view seems to be that not only must Britain keep its mouth shut about their horrific abuses – we should also be actively supporting them.  If Britain had gone ahead with providing services to the Saudi prisons system, we would have been complicit in the horrific sentences handed down to Ali, Dawoud and others like them.  Yet the Saudi authorities still don’t seem to have got the message. They need to realise that until they put a stop to the horrific abuses in the Kingdom, no country with any respect for human rights will want to go near their ‘justice’ system.”


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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

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