News ID: 110523
Publish Date : 24 December 2022 - 21:50

UK MPs: Saudi Arabia ‘Plans to Use Christmas as Cover for Mass Executions’

LONDON (Telegraph) – Saudi Arabia is planning a Christmas execution spree while the West is distracted with festivities in a cynical attempt to avoid diplomatic “blowback”, the UK Government has been warned.
In a letter to the Foreign Secretary seen by the Telegraph, British MPs said the kingdom would use Christmas as “cover for committing atrocities” – as was the case in 2016 when nearly 50 people, including children, were put to death around late December.
“We are gravely concerned that Saudi Arabia may carry out a mass execution over the holiday period, when the world’s eyes are elsewhere and Saudi authorities feel they will face less diplomatic blowback,” stated the letter to James Cleverly.
“The kingdom has a history of carrying out executions over the festive and New Year period, as it did in 2016 and 2020, when it is harder for the international community to quickly respond. We urge you to make representations ahead of the holidays to communicate that this would be utterly unacceptable, before it’s too late,” it added.
The letter was signed by MPs across the party spectrum, including David Davis, Hilary Benn, Sir Peter Bottomley, Alistair Carmichael and Andy Slaughter.
Around 60 people are known to be facing execution in Saudi Arabia according to human rights groups, who say the true figure is likely to be substantially higher.
Britain and a number of Western countries are believed to pursue a softer stance on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia as the oil-rich state is trying to mitigate high energy prices caused by the Russian military offensive in Ukraine.
Maya Foa, the director of the legal charity Reprieve, said, “[U.S. President] Joe Biden, [former British prime minister] Boris Johnson and [French President] Emmanuel Macron all met the Crown Prince this year – and all failed to condemn the bloodshed. Haven’t we learned how short-sighted it is to cosy up to dictators, hoping they will change?
“In the case of Saudi Arabia, more executions for childhood crimes, for protest offences and for non-violent drug crimes are the inevitable result.”