‘Condemnation’ of Khashoggi murder not enough to stop arms trade

‘Condemnation’ of Khashoggi murder not enough to stop arms trade

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing in Istanbul in October last year

Friday, May 17, 2019

The British government has prioritised arms deals with Saudi Arabia over human rights, according to a spokesman for the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Andrew Smith from CAAT said the “global condemnation” of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was not enough to stop UK arms deals with the country.

Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who had been critical of the crown prince, was last seen entering the country’s consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

In the three months after his death, the British government sold almost £11.5 million worth of military equipment.

Mr Smith told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham that he feels “nothing” has changed since the death of Mr Khashoggi.

“It is not so much the weapons itself, it is the fact that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi changed nothing,” he said.

“For decades Saudi Arabia has been by far the biggest buyer of UK arms and many of those weapons are being used in Yemen in a brutal humanitarian catastrophe.

“If that has not been enough to stop the arms deal, there has been global condemnation of the murder of a journalist and it has not been enough to stop it.”

Saudi Arabia began air strikes in 2015 in support of Yemen’s president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi after rebel forces had took control of a northern region of the country.

Over 7,000 civilians have been killed and over 11,000 injured in the conflict in Yemen, with 65 per cent of the deaths attributed to air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition.

“Whenever there is a choice to make about human rights vs maximising arms deals, the government will almost always favours the arms dealers,” Mr Smith added.

“The UK is meant to stand for human rights and democracy. The argument that if we did not do it someone else would, could be used as a justification for selling absolutely anything to anyone.

“The UK is meant to have standards and principles.”

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