Saudi Arabia: Britons do not respect our death penalty laws

Saudi Arabian foreign minister and protests GETTY

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister wants Britons to respect their death penalty laws.

The Saudi politician has urged people in the UK to respect his country's death penalty as it is causing a strained diplomatic relationship and tensions between the two countries.

Adel Al-Jubeir was questioned on Channel 4 News by Jonathan Rugman, who asked: "You don't have to execute as many people as you do, do you?"

The minister responded: "We have a fundamental difference, in your country, you do not execute people, we respect it. In our country, the death penalty is part of our laws and you have to respect this as it is the law."

Protests in Baghdad GETTY

Protest in Baghdad against the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr

There has recently been a number of high-profile executions in Saudi Arabia, including the death of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr earlier this month.

The execution of the top Shia cleric sparking outrage in Iran – who warned Saudi Arabia they would pay "a heavy price" for it.

Sheikh al-Nimr was among 47 prisoners were executed in the space of one day for alleged acts of terrorism.

A protest sign GETTY

The Saudi Arabian death penalty is causing international outcry

In our country, the death penalty is part of our laws and you have to respect this as it is the law

Adel Al-Jubeir

In the aftermath, demonstrators in Iram broke into the Saudi embassy and started fires.

Mr Al-Jubeir said: "With regards to the perception of Saudi Arabia among the British public, this is a problem that we need to work on. We have not been good at explaining ourselves.

"We have not done a good job at reaching out to the British media or the British public or to the British institutions, academic institutions, think tanks and so forth. We maybe not have been as communicative as we should be."

At the time of Sheikh al-Nimr's execution, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: “2015 saw Saudi Arabia execute over 150 people, many of them for non-violent offences. Today's appalling news, with nearly 50 executed in a single day, suggests 2016 could be even worse.

“Alarmingly, the Saudi Government is continuing to target those who have called for domestic reform in the kingdom, executing at least four of them today.

"There are now real concerns that those protesters sentenced to death as children could be next in line to face the swordsman’s blade.

“Saudi Arabia's allies – including the US and UK – must not turn a blind eye to such atrocities and must urgently appeal to the Kingdom to change course.”


US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) is pictured during a meeting with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister

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