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High Court expected to rule on Saudi arms sales

THE High Court will rule today on whether the government has broken the law by continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

The case is being brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which says British fighter jets and bombs sent to the Gulf kingdom have been used in its bloody war in Yemen, in which more than 10,000 people have died.

The group is contesting the government’s refusal to suspend export licences for the sale or transfer of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia and its decisions to continue granting new licences.

But ministers have continued to allow sales, with over £3.3 billion worth of arms having been licensed since the bombing began in March 2015.

The government argues that there is no “clear risk” that British-licensed items might be used to commit a serious violation of humanitarian law.

Martin Chamberlain QC, representing CAAT, said the evidence to be presented in open court — from bodies including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, the UN, EU and Rights Watch (UK) — was enough on its own to show “no reasonable decision-maker” could have allowed the sale of arms to Riyadh to continue.

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