Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond has been severely criticised by human rights groups after branding four executed Saudi Arabian political protesters as “terrorists”.
Hammond has also been accused of ‘parroting Saudi Arabian propaganda’ after refusing to condemn the execution of the four political protesters, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Tory MP Phillip Hammond stated that Britain was willing to be ‘more robust’ in denouncing the actions of Saudi Arabia, but said that ‘however much we lobby countries like Saudi Arabia (…) they are not going to end its use (executions based on Sharia law).
Referring to the mass execution of 47 prisoners by the Saudi Arabian dictatorship, Hammond stated that ‘[L]et us be clear, first of all, that these people were convicted terrorists.’
However, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said that Hammond was ‘alarmingly misinformed’ about the mass executions’ and that ‘By refusing to condemn these executions and parroting the Saudi’s propaganda, labelling those killed as terrorists, Mr Hammond is coming dangerously close to condoning Saudi Arabia’s approach.’
The UK director of Human Rights Watch told The Huffington Post that ‘British policy on Saudi Arabia has reached a new low.’
As Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond is well aware that at least four of these ‘convicted terrorists’ were sentenced for peacefully protesting against the Saudi regime. And so, by repeating Saudi Arabia’s line that these people are ‘terrorists’ for committing the ‘crime’ of protesting against a barbaric regime, we can draw three simple conclusions;
1. Phillip Hammond is an apologist for the death penalty.
2. Phillip Hammond believes that execution by beheading for political protests is an acceptable from of punishment.
3. It doesn’t matter how low Saudi Arabia sinks in order to stifle protests against their barbaric regime, Phillip Hammond will seemingly refuse to condemn their actions – even if their actions are relative to those of Daesh (ISIS).
It remains to be seen whether the Conservative Party wish to implement similar laws in this country in an attempt to curb criticism of their shameless execution-apologism. On the basis of Hammond’s excruciating interview, if they knew they could get away with it, I wouldn’t put it past them.