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Human Rights Campaigners call on Theresa May to demand Saudi Arabia halts executions

Reprieve said the PM must hold the new crown prince to his promises of reform

RIGHTS campaign group Reprieve called on Theresa May to demand an immediate halt to executions in Saudi Arabia as it warned of a fresh wave of repression in the Gulf state today.

The Prime Minister is due to host the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in London later this year.

Her government has been criticised for continuing to allow arms to be sold to Saudi Arabia that are being used as part of its devastating bombing of Yemen, where millions are on the brink of famine.

Mr Bin Salman came to power in June last year amid promises of a new era of reform. Senior members of the previously untouchable Saudi royal family were arrested in November with increased powers granted to the prince.

It was hoped that it could signify a turning point. Mr Bin Salman claimed he would return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam,” acknowledging things had not been right in the Gulf state for 30 years and appealing to the international community for support in making the transformation to an open society.

But Reprieve issued the latest warning two years after 47 people were executed by the despotic regime in just one day. It claimed that among those killed were political protesters and juveniles.

And research by the rights group showed that 141 people were executed in 2017, 70 per cent of them after Mr bin Salman came to power.

The death sentences of 14 political prisoners were upheld by a Saudi court in July last year. Reprieve says that they were convicted on the basis of confessions extracted through torture.

Among the 14 are a disabled man, Munir al-Adam, and a juvenile, Mujtaba al-Sweikat.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “Two years on from a mass execution that saw political protesters, including children, killed, the government of Saudi Arabia shows no interest in halting a brutal wave of repression. Hundreds of people have been executed in the last two years and now several young protesters face imminent execution on Mohammed bin Salman’s watch.

“The international community, including Theresa May, who is soon to host the new crown prince, must hold him to his promises of ‘reform’ by demanding a halt to all executions immediately.”

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