Supporting Saudi Arabia is supporting violations of human rights

Aug 31st, 2014 | By | Category: Weekly Washington Updates

by John Wight, a writer and commentator specializing in geopolitics, UK domestic politics, culture and sport.

This is Saudi "justice."

This is Saudi “justice.”

Has there ever been a more vile and repugnant regime than the gang of bloated potentates that rules Saudi Arabia?

Responsible for fomenting chaos and carnage beyond their own borders, while at home brutalizing their own people, surely it is time for the international community to turn its attention to the Saudis and their utter and complete disregard for anything resembling human rights.

The scale of the human rights abuses that are a regular occurrence in this oil-rich kingdom is reflected in a recent surge of executions by beheading that have been carried out there, involving 19 people since August 4. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) seven of those executed were found guilty of non-violent offenses, while a further seven were found guilty of drug smuggling. One victim was executed for sorcery, whatever that means.

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said: “Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious.” She went on: “There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.”

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Let’s not equivocate: in 2014 the idea of state-sanctioned execution of prisoners by beheading with a sword in public is beyond barbaric. Worse, Saudi Arabia remains a close strategic ally and economic partner of western governments, whose failure to confront or challenge the kingdom on its serial human rights abuses smacks of immorality and hypocrisy.

In February this year, British defence firm BAE agreed a deal to supply the Saudis with 72 Typhoon fighter jets, worth £4.4 billion (just over $7 billion). The deal was agreed around the same time as Prince Charles paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is a frequent visitor. When asked, the prince’s office denied any connection between the BAE deal and his visit to the country. Read more at RT.COM

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