Ban arms sales to KSA until Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and Raif Badawi are released

Sentenced to ‘Death by Crucifixion’, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested when he was just 17, during a crackdown on anti-government protests in the Arab Spring. He was accused by the authorities of participation in illegal protests and a large number of other offences, including “explaining how to give first aid to protesters”. Ali was tortured and forced to sign a false confession; this was the only evidence brought against him.

Ali’s final appeal was held in secret, without his knowledge. This was the last remaining legal obstacle to his execution, and now Ali can be crucified at any time. The authorities may not even give prior notification to his family. His execution would be illegal under international law.

Writer and activist Raif Badawi was arrested on a charge of insulting Islam through electronic channels and brought to court on several charges including apostasy. He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison plus a large fine. The lashes were to be carried out over 20 weeks. The first 50 were administered on January 9, 2015. The second set has been postponed more than twelve times. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, believes that Raif will not be able to survive further lashings due to his ill health.

Our country, and most of the world, is rightly outraged at the actions of ISIS and their despicable inhuman terrorist organisation, but are they that different from KSA who the government inexplicably supports? They are both vicious theocracies that engage in public beheadings, floggings, torture, amputations, stoning, crucifixion, executing members of the LGBT community, oppressing women, endorsing child marriage (rape), and the sex slave trade; yet the government seems blind to this reality, choosing to drop bombs on one and sell them to the other.

The UK Ministry of Justice currently has a £5.9m contract to provide services for the Saudi prison system and is therefore assisting with any number of cruel and degrading human rights violations.

Whilst successive British governments have said they have worked behind closed doors to press the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record, we the undersigned feel it is no where enough and call for a firmer, more tangible stance.

We have no wish for the government, in our name, to take any part in human rights abuses and therefore demand the immediate suspension of all sales of military or police equipment & weapons, dual use goods, and any prison services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, until such time as Ali Mohammed al-Nimr & Raif Badawi have been released, unharmed and alive, as well as KSA undertaking to bring their judicial system in line with international conventions, laws and norms with respect to human rights.
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