PRESS RELEASE – UK/SAUDI ARABIA: PM must protect UK residents from Saudi threat

From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

24 October 2018

PRESS RELEASE – UK/SAUDI ARABIA: PM must protect UK residents from Saudi threat

IHRC has written to the Prime Minister Theresa May in the light of the murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi urging her to take steps to protect people living in the UK from the growing threat posed by the regime in Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a self-exiled critic of the Saudi government living in the US, was killed in the confines of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul on October 2 when he went to sign divorce papers. According to some reports he was dismembered alive.

IHRC’s letter castigates the PM for her government’s muted reaction compared to the failed assassination attempt by Russian secret service agents of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK earlier this year, an endeavour that is believed to have inadvertently led to the death of Dawn Sturgess and the poisoning of her boyfriend Charlie Rowley.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the Skripal attack was carried out on British soil it is a matter of some concern that you have failed to even condemn the Saudi Arabian government over Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance, now that it has been established he was murdered in the Saudi Arabian embassy,” says the letter.

“We believe that this has huge ramifications for UK citizens. It would place in danger any British national, particularly those who have been critical of the regime, entering a Saudi diplomatic mission anywhere in the world.”

IHRC has no doubt that far from being a botched rendition attempt or the work of a “rogue unit” the murder of Khashoggi was planned at the highest levels of the Saudi regime and designed to instil fear in its critics. The execution was undertaken to send the message that “we can reach you wherever you are”.

IHRC is particularly concerned about the security implications this extra-judicial murder has on UK nationals at home. In recent years supporters of Saudi Arabia have attacked and harassed their opponents abroad, particularly on the streets of London. If the murder of Khashoggi goes unaddressed it will only embolden such individuals and also the Saudi government to continue acting outside civilised norms and putting lives of UK nationals in danger.

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi presents a clear and present danger to UK residents, particularly critics of Saudi Arabia and dissidents who are in exile here. That being the case it is incumbent on the government to reassure them about their safety by swiftly putting in place measures that will protect them from harm at the hands of the Saudi regime. The government must also review all military and security cooperation with Riyadh and cancel all arms sales until those responsible for the murder are brought to account.

The full letter can be read at https://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/campaigns/19352-letter-to-the-prime-minister-regarding-the-murder-of-jamal-khashoggi (Ends)

For media enquiries please email media@ihrc.org or call 020 8904 4222 or 07958 522196

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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