SNP lead on cross-party letter demanding action over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Dear Secretary of State,

We the undersigned are writing to you regarding the UK Government’s ongoing support for the  Government of Saudi Arabia in light of recent events. You will no doubt be aware of the horrifying reports that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly tortured and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

This only marks the latest in a litany of charges that have been laid before the Saudi regime by the international community. These accusations include:

  • The murder of a journalist on diplomatic premises in a foreign country.
  • Committing war crimes against the people of Yemen, in which thousands of civilians have been killed, the country has been pushed to the brink of famine, and a targeted airstrike by Saudi forces on a school bus was conducted in which 42 children were killed.
  • Imprisoning activists for protesting the right for women to drive and those championing human rights.
  • The oppression of various groups including members of the LGBT community and religious minorities.
  • Increasing the rate of capital trials and executions in Saudi Arabia to unprecedented levels, including against the aforementioned political and human rights activists.
  • Luring the Prime Minister of Lebanon to Riyadh on false pretences, abducting and mistreating him, and forcing him to make a televised resignation statement.

Given the repeated nature of these violations and atrocities, it is now hard to imagine what crime the Saudi Government would need to commit in order for the UK Government to condemn them. It cannot be business as usual with a regime that displays blatant contempt and disregard for international law and human rights.

The consistent inaction of your Government is utterly incompatible with our most basic values as a democracy. We regard it as unacceptable that the UK Government not only remains silent, but actively enables this Saudi regime.

The Conservative Government has continued to supply Saudi Arabia with weaponry which has been used in the devastating war in Yemen, has shamefully rolled out the red carpet for the Saudi Crown Prince in a state visit earlier this year, and has repeatedly excused their actions in statements before the House of Commons.

While we welcome that you have recently met with Washington Post CEO Fred Ryan, and tweeted your concern about the case of Mr Khashoggi, the time for rhetoric and photocalls is over: it’s time to act.

We call on you, once again, to condemn the reckless and barbaric behaviour of the Saudi Government, immediately suspend the sale of arms to the regime for use in the war on Yemen pending a comprehensive and independent investigation of all alleged war crimes, halt all conventional UK military operations in the country, set out what representations have been made with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UK, and support every effort for an independent inquiry into the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Gethins MP, SN P’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson

Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Christine Jardine MP, Liberal Democrat’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton, Pavilion

Jonathan Edwards MP, Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs