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29 September 2015updated 26 Jul 2021 10:21am

Jeremy Corbyn calls on David Cameron to intervene in Saudi human rights abuses

In his party conference speech, the Labour leader challenged the Prime Minister to condemn oppression in Saudi Arabia.

By Anoosh Chakelian

In his speech to Labour party conference, Jeremy Corbyn challenged David Cameron to intervene in the Saudi Arabian regime’s human rights abuses.

He was referring specifically to the case of a 17-year-old, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who faces execution for his involvement in a pro-democracy protest. Having been accused of illegal demonstration and fire arms offences, he has been given a death sentence of beheading and crucifixation.

Corbyn called the British government out on its cooperation with Saudi Arabia, urging it to end its plans to sell its expertise to Saudi Arabia for its prison service.

He said:

“Intervene now personally with the Saudi Arabian regime to stop the beheading and crucifixion of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is threatened with the death penalty for taking part in a demonstration at the age of 17.

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“While you’re about it, terminate that bid made by our Ministry of Justice to provide prison services for Saudi Arabia which would be required to carry out the sentence that would be put down on Ali Mohammed al-Nimr.

“We have to be very clear what we stand for in human rights, because a refusal to stand up is the kind of thing that really damages Britain’s standing in the world.”

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Jack of Kent, a blogger on legal matters, gives the details of the government’s potential contract to provide the Saudis its expertise. He writes: 

“It is a revolting notion that the UK should be assisting any part of the Saudi punishment system to be more efficient.

“The Saudi regime is, without any exaggeration, barbaric. Criminal offences are not defined; there is no recognisable due process for defendants; and the punishments are savage. And this description is not just some hyperbole of a breathless human rights lawyer: it is what the UK embassy in Riyadh itself says in its chilling Information Pack for British Prisoners in Saudi Arabia.”

Will the Prime Minister respond to the new Labour leader’s call for him to stand up to Saudi Arabia?