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Court of Appeal to consider legality of British arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Campaign Against Arms Trade is appealing to overturn a 2017 High Court judgement allowing the British government to continue to export arms to the absolute monarchy

THE Court of Appeal will consider next week the legality of Britain’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is appealing to overturn a 2017 High Court judgement allowing the British government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia.

Representing CAAT, lawyers from Leigh Day will argue that the decision to grant the sales licences was against Britain’s arms exports policy.

The policy states that the government must deny such licences if there is a “clear risk” the arms “might” be used in “a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”

Britain has licensed £4.7 billion worth of arms sales to the Saudi regime since the bombing of Yemen began in 2015 where thousands of people have been killed and vital infrastructures have been destroyed.

CAAT’s Andrew Smith said: “Despite the atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to depend on the uncritical political and military support of the UK government.

“Right now UK-made fighter jets are flying over Yemen and dropping UK-made bombs. We believe that these arms sales are immoral, and are confident that the Court of Appeal will agree that they are unlawful.”

The appeal will call on the Department of International Trade to suspend all current licences and stop issuing further licences while it holds a full review into the compatibility of the exports with British and EU legislation and will be heard from Monday April 9 until Thursday April 11.

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