On the 11th June 2015 Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty’s Government “what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia about the confirmation of a sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison against Raif Badawi.” The Bishop of St Albans , Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, your Lordships’ House will not be unaware of the discrepancy between the attitude to human rights displayed in Saudi Arabia’s public condemnation of the Charlie Hebdo atrocities and this case, where somebody is being punished on the basis of religion. Does the Minister agree that there is a considerable dissonance between the public image that Saudi Arabia is seeking to present and the country’s internal affairs?
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I think we have to recognise that the actions of the Saudi Government in these respects have the support of the vast majority of the Saudi population. Against that background, we maintain our view that freedom of religion and belief and freedom of expression are core rights that lead to long-term stability and good governance.