End UK arms sales to human rights abusing Saudi Arabia
Join Friday’s Saudi Embassy protest in solidarity with Raif Badawi
London, UK – 12 January 2017
Peter Tatchell’s petition urging the UK government to halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia already has over 150,000 signatures. Help us get to 200,000.
Please sign the petition and tweet / facebook it:
This petition will be presented to the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, later this month.
Please also join the vigil in solidarity with Raif Badawi this Friday, which will mark his 33rd birthday. It takes place at the Saudi Embassy, 1-2pm, Friday 13 January, Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1.
MORE INFO about the vigil: http://bit.ly/2jaOAZh
The vigil is organised by English Pen and supported by Reporters Without Borders, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, the Jimmy Wales Foundation, Peter Tatchell Foundation, One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Bread and Roses, and Equal Rights Now – Movement for Women’s Liberation in Iran.
“We are calling on the UK government to cease its support for a Saudi Arabian regime that has jailed the blogger Raif Badawi and is committing war crimes in Yemen, with its indiscriminate bombing of civilians – using UK-supplied and now illegal cluster bombs,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“The mass killing and humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Yemen gives added urgency to our call for Britain to stop sustaining the Saudi dictatorship through arms deals.
“The UK government should sever its support for a Saudi state that violates human rights and fundamental freedoms, at home and abroad: UK arms sales must end, the British ambassador should be recalled and key regime figures sanctioned internationally.
“The Saudi regime ought to be treated as a global pariah. Its courts sentenced Raif Badawi to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for the crime of expressing the wrong opinions. It has also imprisoned his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair and has sentenced the teen democracy protester Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to beheading and crucifixion. Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh is serving eight years behind bars for renouncing Islam.
“Women are banned from driving and from travelling without a male guardian. Adultery, blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality are punishable by death. Shia Muslims and Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Trade unions are restricted, peaceful protests suppressed and there are no free and fair elections.
“While Saudi Arabia opposes ISIS officially, its hardline Islamist ideology gives justification to ISIS and it is ignoring Saudi individuals who are funding ISIS and other Islamist factions.
“Raif Badawi represents the growing number of Saudis who want democracy and human rights, including freedom of expression – the right to express ideas that dissent from the prevailing political and religious orthodoxy.
“There is no sign that the Saudi’s sadistic cruelty towards Raif and other political prisoners is disturbing the close and decades-long friendship between London and Riyadh.
“Saudi Arabia is currently the UK’s largest arms export market. It is a nonsense to claim, as ministers do, that this military cooperation is about nothing more than the Saudis’ right to self-defence. Tell that to the Yemenis. The reason we do not arm Iran or North Korea is that arms sales are inescapably an expression of political support and commitment to regime survival.
“Please join us in telling the Prime Minister Theresa May to stop the UK profiting from selling arms to a cruel regime that commits war crimes and persecutes its own citizens.
“We urge Theresa May to speak out publicly against all human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and to publicly urge the immediate unconditional release of Raif Badawi and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair – and of all political prisoners.”
“It’s more important than ever to sign and share this petition to stop UK businesses selling arms to Saudi Arabia and to push for targeted sanctions against the regime,” said Mr Tatchell.
Please sign and circulate: