8 October 2015

SEE CAMERON SQUIRM - Why the UK supported Saudi Arabia's membership of the UN Human Rights Council

A must-watch interview.  David Cameron twists and squirms as he attempts to defend his government’s support for Saudi Arabia on the UN Human Rights Council.
Tony Greenstein

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, 17, faces the death penalty for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations during the Arab Spring

Cameron repeatedly failed to answer the question during the interview Channel 4, via YouTube
David Cameron has repeatedly refused to explain why the British government agreed to a “squalid” deal with Saudi Arabia, as the country prepares to behead and crucify a teenager for engaging in pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring.

In an excruciating interview with Channel 4’s Jon Snow, the Prime Minister floundered for a response when questioned on the recently exposed secret deal with the Saudis to allow both nations’ election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013.

“This sounds a bit squalid for one of the most human rights abusing regimes on earth,” Mr Snow comments.

The PM claimed he would attempt to personally raise the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, a 17-year-old teenager arrested when he was 14 who faces the death penalty, but only if there was an “opportunity” with Saudi authorities.

"We oppose the death penalty anywhere and everywhere in all our international contacts," Mr Cameron added.

Pressure mounts on Saudi Arabia over imminent beheading and crucifixion of alleged protester
Asked three times by Mr Snow why – if Mr Cameron “completely disagreed” with the repressive state over their “punishment routines” as he claimed earlier – the UK had agreed to the deal with the Saudi government the PM claimed: “Well, I’ve answered the question.”

“Well, that isn’t an answer is it? I mean we have done a horrid deal,” Mr Snow responds.

Finally, the Conservative leader claimed it was because the British government has “a relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

"The reason we have the relationship is our own national security. There was one occasion since I’ve been prime minister where a bomb that would have potentially blown up over Britain was stopped because of intelligence we got from Saudi Arabia.”

“Of course it would be easier for me to come on your programme and say: ‘I’m not having anything 
to do with these people, it’s all terribly difficult etcetera etcetera.’ For me, Britain’s national security and our people’s security comes first,” he added.

Wikileaks released documents this week purporting to show the UK and Saudi Arabia supported each nation’s election the UN Human Rights Council in 2013. Both countries were later elected to the 47-member council until 2016.

Human rights organisation have decried Saudi authorities decision to kill Mr al-Nimr, with Amnesty International describing the teenager’s trial as unfair and “deeply flawed.

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