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Saudi Arabia

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL5320, tabled on 2 March 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia following the decision of a Saudi Arabian court to sentence a man to death for renouncing his Muslim faith; and whether they consider such sentences to be compatible with Article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it relates to freedom of religion and belief.

Answered on

16 March 2015

It is a matter of public record that the British Government strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief, which is severely restricted in Saudi Arabia. We believe, as Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and that this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief. Any action to punish an individual for their faith or belief is not compatible with Article 18.

The UK has repeatedly made clear that it opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances because we believe it undermines human dignity and there is no evidence that it works as a deterrent. Ministers, our Ambassador, and our Embassy team in Riyadh frequently raise the issue of the death penalty with the Saudi authorities, bilaterally and through the EU.