Français
Now
Tunisia Coup
Pegasus spyware
Inside Iran
News | Saudi Human Rights
UK minister in Saudi Arabia for trade talks on same day as execution
Ranil Jayawardena met Gulf Cooperation Council secretary-general in Riyadh as authorities announced death of Mustafa Hashem al-Darwish
British trade minister Ranil Jayawardena (L) met with GCC Secretary-General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf (R) in Riyadh on Tuesday (Kuwait News Agency)
By Simon Hooper
Published date: 15 June 2021 16:30 UTC Last update: 1 month 2 weeks ago
The execution in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of a man convicted of protesting against the government when he was 17 years old took place on the same day as a British government minister's visit to the kingdom for trade talks.
Ranil Jayawardena, the British minister for international trade, met with Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf, the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in the Saudi capital.
🤝 Good to meet @GCC Secretary-General HE Dr Nayef Falah M Al-Hajraf today.⁰⁰✅ Thanks to the GCC for their input into our Joint Trade and Investment Review.

📈 Together, we will strengthen trade relationships with all GCC countries even further.⁰⁰​#GlobalTrade​#GlobalBritain​pic.twitter.com/QgMS1N0XnF
— Ranil Jayawardena MP (@ranil) June 15, 2021
Jayawardena's meeting with Hajraf took place as the Saudi interior ministry announced the execution of Mustafa Hashem al-Darwish, a 26-year-old who was sentenced to death on charges linked to his participation as a teenager in anti-government protests in the Eastern Province.
Saudi Arabia executes man arrested for protesting as a teenager
Read More »
Human rights groups and activists say that Darwish was subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention and torture. He subsequently retracted a confession which he said was extracted under duress.
Last week, Darwish's relatives urged Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, to raise the case during his own visit to the kingdom to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Speaking after Darwish's execution was announced, Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, criticised Raab for having failed to do so. 
"It is not enough for Saudi Arabia’s partners to ‘raise human rights issues', as British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reportedly did on his recent visit to the Kingdom," said Foa.
"They need to raise specific cases, and make clear that executions for childhood crimes will not be tolerated. Otherwise, Abdullah al-Howaiti, arrested aged 14 and sentenced to death at 17, could be next.”
Trade deals
Jayawardena's meeting with Hajraf, a former Kuwaiti government minister, comes as the UK seeks to secure trade deals around the world following its departure from the European Union.
Is the UK looking to seal a Gulf free trade deal?
Read More »
Writing on Twitter, Jayawardena said: "Good to meet GCC Secretary-General HE Dr Nayef Falah M Al-Hajraf today.
"Thanks to the GCC for their input into our Joint Trade and Investment Review.
"Together, we will strengthen trade relationships with all GCC countries even further.
Hajraf “stressed the importance of the GCC-British relations and the promotion of the economic and trade cooperation”, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The GCC consists of six Gulf states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Middle East Eye asked the Department for International Trade for comment about Jayawardena's visit but was sent a statement by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
It reiterated that Raab had raised human rights concerns during his visit and said the British embassy in Riyadh had raised concern over the treatment of Darwish last week with Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission.
An FCDO spokesperson said: “The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country as a matter of principle. We routinely raise human rights issues with other countries, including Saudi Arabia, and never shy away from those conversations when it is appropriate.”
Recommended
Saudi Arabia launched 'relentless crackdown' after G20, Amnesty says
Saad al-Jabri says Canadian lawsuit against him is tainted by torture: Report
Ex-Saudi spy chief's children must be released, say US senators
Read more
Saudi Human Rights
Saudi Arabia executes man arrested for protesting as a teenager
Saudi Human Rights
UK foreign secretary urged to intervene in Saudi Arabia death penalty cases
Saudi Human Rights
Saudi man arrested as a child could face execution despite reforms: HRW
COUNTRIES
Algeria
Bahrain
Egypt
India
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Libya
Mauritania
Morocco
Oman
Pakistan
Palestine
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Sudan
Syria
Tunisia
Turkey
UK
United Arab Emirates
ABOUT
About us
Privacy
Terms and conditions
Contact Us
© Middle East Eye 2021 - all rights reserved. Only England And Wales jurisdiction apply in all legal matters.
Middle East Eye          ISSN 2634-2456                     
We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience
By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.
NewsOpinionVideoThe Big StoryDiscover