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UK rights groups demand cancellation of Saudi Crown Prince's visit

[JURIST] A coalition of human rights groups, including the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK), Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign Against Arms Trade [advocacy websites] and Human Rights for Yemen, sent a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May [official website] on Tuesday urging her to cancel Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the UK.

The letter [text, Red Pepper report] alleges that Salman, the second most senior member of the Saudi regime, has "overseen the war on Yemen, creating tens of thousands of deaths and injuries" contributing to the the "world’s worst humanitarian disaster" in fifty years. Noting that Saudi Arabia has executed over 100 people in 2017 alone, the letter further alleges that the country has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

The letter also pointed to Saudi Arabia's support of government crackdowns on peaceful protesters in other countries such as Bahrain in 2011 [JURIST report], and the detention of Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri [WP report] in November in what was perceived to be an attempt to mobilize anti-Iran sentiment within Lebanon.

Particularly highlighting the fact UK-made jets and bombs have contributed to the destruction of civilian targets and Yemen's already beaten-down infrastructure, the letter urged May to withdraw her invitation to Salman:

UK personnel, from the armed forces and BAE Systems, are present in the Saudi operations centre, aiding this catastrophe ... It shames us as a nation to support and associate with a brutal dictator who uses hunger as a weapon, and has allowed the largest cholera epidemic in history to develop in Yemen. The interests of the people of Britain, and the peoples suffering from the Crown Prince’s adventurism, are not served by this visit. The invitation must be withdrawn.

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