Training by British police may have directly helped Saudi agents arrest more than a dozen people now believed to be facing execution, with voices in Britain urging Prime Minister Theresa May to move in a bid to halt the killings.
In Saudi Arabia today there are 14 pro-democracy demonstrators who face execution after being caught up in protests against the royal family which turned violent.
One of them, Mujtaba al Sweikat, was on his way to take up a place at the University of Western Michigan when he was arrested at one of the country’s airports, The Independent reported.
On his charge sheet the teenager, who was just 17 at the time, was accused of “supervising” a group on Facebook and “photographing the demonstrations, which is punishable according to the cybercrime bill”.
So he wasn’t exactly arrested at the scene, Molotov cocktail in hand.
Another death row juvenile, Ali al Nimr, was convicted of: “Setting up a page on his Blackberry with over 800 people, naming it ‘The Liberals’, with the goal of inciting demonstrations by way of sending pictures of the demonstrations , their time/locations and inviting people to participate.”
For not only were these men’s, sorry children’s, confessions of violence made after prolonged torture but they were also denied access to lawyers and a fair trial.
What’s even more disturbing is the fact that British police may have directly helped arrest them.
The human rights group, Reprieve, has warned that training from British officers was equipping Saudi police with skills that could be used to “identify individuals who later go on to be tortured or subjected to other human rights abuses”.
Britain’s secretive training of foreign regimes with dubious human rights records was heavily criticized in a parliamentary report last year.
The Home Affairs Select Committee found that the College of Policing had generated more than £8.5m in revenue through international work which included training in forensics, child abuse investigations and counter-terrorism.
MPs including ex-Labor leader Ed Miliband have written to a May asking her to “personally urge” the Saudi royal family to halt the killings.