Hammond must use Saudi visit to call for an end to abuses – Reprieve

October 28, 2015

Images of Ali al-Nimr

The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, has today announced that he has traveled to Saudi Arabia, at the start of a tour of several Gulf countries.

His visit comes amid concerns for the fate of juveniles Ali al-Nimr and Dawoud al-Marhoon, who are reported to be awaiting execution in solitary confinement; as well as for British citizen Karl Andree and blogger Raif Badawi, who have both been sentenced to ‘lashes’.

Yesterday, Ali’s father Mohammed al-Nimr – who has made repeated public appeals to the Saudi authorities to save his son’s life – was arrested and detained for several hours on unclear charges. This morning, Mr Badawi’s wife said she has been told his flogging will resume ‘soon’.

Last week, Mr Hammond told MPs that he ‘did not expect’ the sentences to be carried out on Ali al-Nimr and Karl Andree.

Commenting, Kate Higham, a caseworker at human rights organization Reprieve, said:

“Despite the Foreign Secretary’s hint last week that he ‘does not expect’ the Saudis to carry out hideous punishments on Ali al-Nimr and Karl Andree, it appears these assurances are shaky at best. There are still grave fears for Ali and the other Saudi juveniles facing execution – while Ali’s father was also yesterday detained after speaking out to save his son’s life. The UK is one of Saudi Arabia’s closest allies – Philip Hammond must use his visit to demand an end to these terrible abuses.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization with offices in London and New York City. For more information, contact Reprieve’s press office:

UK: alice [dot] gillham [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8140
US: katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064

2. Further detail on Ali al-Nimr’s case can be found here.

3. Mr Hammond’s announcement was made on Twitter, here.

4. Details of Mr Hammond’s comments to Parliament are here.

5. The comments by Raif Badawi’s wife can be seen here.