Bishop of St Albans asks about recent executions in Saudi Arabia

The Bishop of St Albans asked about the government response to human rights issues in Saudi Arabia on 16th March 2023, following a Commons Urgent Question on the execution of Hussein Abo al-Kheir and other recent executions in the country:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the whole House acknowledges the contribution the Minister makes in this important area, but there are real concerns as to whether His Majesty’s Government are as intent on addressing these issues. Saudi is part of the Arab Charter on Human Rights 2004, but the problem is enforcement. Even the statute brought in 2014 does not enable enforcement. What representations are His Majesty’s Government making to the wider Arab world to work with colleagues to nudge Saudi in a new direction and stop this extraordinary range of executions, which do not seem to be abating at all?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): I agree with the right reverend Prelate, and I assure him that I am raising these issues in a very wide context. When, under Islamic jurisprudence, the death penalty was established, it was done with so many caveats, thresholds and hurdles that needed to be overcome that implementation was made extremely remote, because of all the other validations that needed to be put in place. I would not say that we need to nudge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—countries in the Islamic world should themselves be harnessing the true principles of this—but I will ensure that this remains part of our diplomatic focus as we continue to express our opposition to the death penalty across the world.


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