On 13th October 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions on the use of crucifixion as criminal punishment in Saudi Arabia and the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, especially in cases which do not meet the minimum standards defined by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We believe it undermines human dignity and there is no evidence that it works as a deterrent.
Ministers, our Ambassador in Riyadh, and the Embassy team in Riyadh frequently raise the issue of the death penalty with the Saudi authorities, bilaterally and through the European Union.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the decision by the Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia to uphold the sentencing of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was arrested as a juvenile, to death by crucifixion for seeking democratic reforms in that country.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government is very concerned about the case of Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr. We have raised this case with the Saudi Arabian authorities at a senior level including by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond). We will continue to follow this case closely. The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country, especially in cases which do not meet the minimum standards defined by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This includes the execution of a minor and the use of the death penalty for a crime which isn’t deemed “the most serious”.