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Saudi Arabia: Capital Punishment

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 15th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Saudi Arabia about the application of its royal decree to end the death penalty for crimes committed by minors; and what clarification they have sought as to whether that decree applies to all (1) children, and (2) adults whose alleged crimes were committed while they were children, who are currently on death row.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

We welcome the decision by Saudi Arabia to end the use of the death penalty as a discretionary punishment for minors, including those under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime. We will monitor the implementation of this decision.

The Saudi authorities understand our position: we oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and especially in cases that involve child defendants. This position is in line with the minimum standards set out in the 2008 EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty; the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and, the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

The former Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised our concerns about the death penalty with Deputy Justice Minister HE Abdullah Al Sulaimi on 11 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised our human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia during his visit in March this year.

We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Saudi Arabia to promote the protection of all child defendants against the death penalty regardless of the crime committed. We will encourage the authorities to review death penalty judgements for all minors, or individuals who were minors when the crime was committed.

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