Saudi Arabia: Mass Executions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:53 pm on 24th April 2019.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State 12:53 pm, 24th April 2019

I very much agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this situation does raise the gravest imaginable concerns. Executing 37 people is a deeply backwards step, which we deplore. In response to the specific question about representations that have been made in the past, I can confirm that British embassy representatives in Riyadh did make representations regarding specific individuals last November.

The right hon. Gentleman is right to point out that one of the grave concerns about these executions is that they would appear to include minors, or those who were minors at the time that the charges were made. This is of course totally unacceptable and we deplore it. I can advise the House that in just the last few minutes, the European Union—and we have put our name fully to this—has issued a very strong statement of condemnation through the European External Action Service, pointing out that these executions are a regressive step and specifically raising concerns that some of the 37 people executed were minors.

I fully appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman is saying regarding our arms exports. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces a number of threats; the issue of arms is not just about using arms in Yemen. We ensure that any arms exports fully comply with the consolidated criteria that govern any such sales.