Bishop of Coventry asks Government about death penalty and religious freedom in Saudi Arabia

Bp Coventry May 2015On 29th July and 2nd August 2016 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions of Government on capital punishment and religious freedom in Saudi Arabia:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia about the use of the death penalty against
minors. [HL1354]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made this year to the government of Saudi Arabia regarding the use of beheading and crucifixion as criminal punishments. [HL1355]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the Specialised Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia to sentence Ali Mohammed Baqir Al-Nimr, Abdullah Al-Zaher and Dawood Al-Marhoon to death by crucifixion for seeking democratic reforms in that country. [HL1357]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country, especially for crimes other than the most serious and for juveniles, in line with the minimum standards set out in the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty of 2008 and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

We continue to raise the cases of Ali Al-Nimr, Dawood Al-Marhoon and Adullah Al-Zaher with the Saudi authorities at the highest levels, including during the former Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond)’s most recent visit to Saudi Arabia on 29 May. We expect that Ali Al-Nimr and the two others who were convicted as juveniles will not be executed.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment
they have made of the levels of discrimination experienced by Shia citizens in Saudi Arabia in the fields of public education, government employment and religious freedom. [HL1356]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We frequently raise religious freedom as part of our dialogue with the Saudi authorities on a wide range of human rights issues, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion. We pursue this dialogue though a variety of means, including diplomatic channels and Ministerial visits. The Saudi Arabian authorities are encouraging reforms at a pace that is acceptable to Saudi society.


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