Saudi Arabia: Execution of Hussein Abo al-Kheir - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:59 pm on 16th March 2023.

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Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 1:59 pm, 16th March 2023

My Lords, with the leave of the House I will now repeat in the form of a Statement the Answer given by my honourable friend the Minister for Europe to an Urgent Question in another place on the execution of Hussein Abo al-Kheir. The Statement is as follows:

Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country, in part because of the continued use of the death penalty. It is long-standing UK policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, in all countries, as a matter of principle. The Saudi Government are well aware of the UK’s opposition to the use of the death penalty. The UK Government have consistently raised the issue of the death penalty, including the case of Jordanian national Mr Hussein Abo al-Kheir, with the Saudi authorities. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, and for human rights, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, has actively raised concerns about the death penalty and the specific case of Mr al-Kheir with the Saudi authorities on multiple occasions, including with the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission in December 2022 and when he visited the kingdom in February 2023. Lord Ahmad also raised the case with the Saudi ambassador to the UK, including in November 2022 and in January of this year.

On learning about the imminency of the execution, which took place on Saturday 11 March, Lord Ahmad again spoke to the president of the Saudi HRC, the Saudi vice-Foreign Minister and the Saudi ambassador. Saudi Arabia is committed to an ambitious programme of economic and social reform, through ‘Vision 2030’ ... However, the human rights situation is likely to remain a key issue in our engagement for the foreseeable future. We will continue to discuss human rights and the death penalty, including individual cases of concern, with the Saudi authorities.”