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Saudi Arabia: Political Prisoners

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 136476, tabled on 12 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of working with the Biden Administration to encourage Saudi Arabia to release (a) Prince Turki Bin Abdullah, (b) human rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul and (c) other political detainees.

Answered on

18 January 2021

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September 2020. It noted our human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, regretted the continued detention of at least five women's human rights defenders arrested in 2018, and called for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and are monitoring the situation closely.

The Prime Minister spoke to President-elect Biden on 10 November to congratulate him. They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead. The Prime Minister and President-elect also looked forward to working closely together on their shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

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