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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2013

Brutal Saudi regime supported by UK government

On 13 March, seven young men were executed in Saudi Arabia by firing squad. They were reportedly arrested in January 2006 and charged with organising a criminal group, armed robbery and breaking into jewellery stores. They were sentenced to death by a court in Aseer province in August 2009.

Yahya Al-Faifi of the General Federation of Free Workers Trade Unions (GFFWTU), which campaigns for democratic and trade union rights in Saudi Arabia, spoke to the Socialist about these executions.

Yahya explained how, in a society where huge wealth is concentrated in the hands of those at the top, young people are frequently forced to turn to crime to try to feed themselves and their families.

"These young people were from the south, the most deprived provinces in the entire country. This is where the 'Saudi Spring' is most likely to start from.

The blood of these youths has been used to scare the people away from challenging the authority of the regime.

"Do you really think that the Saudi government has conducted any investigation into the origins and motivating factors behind these crimes, or looked at taking measures to alleviate youth unemployment? No, this is a police state that is only occupied by its own security and nothing else."

Yahya also expressed concerns about corruption in the judicial processes.

"Under international safeguards adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, capital punishment may be imposed only for 'the most serious crimes', such as murder, and only after the most rigorous judicial process. Neither of those fundamental criteria has been fulfilled in these cases.

Also, the death sentences were imposed largely based on initial confessions which could have been extracted under torture, and the allegations of torture must be examined.

The defendants had reportedly only made brief appearances before the court, and were not allowed to speak or given adequate opportunities to conduct their defence.

They claimed they were not present at all during the appeal stages and had no defence counsel representing them."

Yahya added that the Home Ministry frequently quotes verses from the Quran out of context, in order to try to give a religious justification to its crimes against the Saudi population, which are in fact motivated politically by the need to maintain the rule of the royal family and imperialism, especially in the context of the Arab Spring uprisings.

GFFWTU is calling for:

Only days after the seven youths were executed, Prince Charles and Camilla visited the semi-feudal state to help cement trade and commercial links, including lucrative arms sales, between UK companies and the Saudi Kingdom.


According to Amnesty International:

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