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French human rights activists celebrate victory over Saudi war cargo

HUMAN RIGHTS activists celebrated victory yesterday after preventing a Saudi ship from picking up a cargo of weapons in France.

Two campaign groups had lodged a legal appeal seeking to block the Saudi vessel from carrying the munitions.

They argued that the cargo was in breach of an international arms treaty barring the dispatch of weapons where it is known that they could be used to commit war crimes.

Despite the complaint being rejected, the Bahri-Yanbu left the port of Le Havre for Spain without the weapons.

This was hailed as a significant victory for the campaigners, with lawyer for the ACAT group Laurence Greig saying: “Pressure from individuals and NGOs led to a positive result.”

France is one of the biggest suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia, whose bombing campaign in Yemen has brought that country it to the brink of the world’s worst famine in a century.

A leaked French military intelligence report recently showed that weapons supplied to the kingdom, including tanks and laser-guided missile systems, were being used against civilians.

Despite allegations of war crimes, the French government has not reviewed its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with President Emmanuel Macron claiming that they are not used on civilians.

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