Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: UK government cancels its controversial bid to supply prison services to Saudi Arabia


The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) welcomes the decision by the United Kingdom government to pull out of its controversial bid to supply prison services to Saudi Arabia.

The bid comprised part of a legal challenge by the GCHR to the legality of the wider bidding process.

Melanie Gingell of the GCHR advisory board said, “We welcome the news that the UK government will no longer be involved in bidding for Saudi prison services for profit. This climb down by the UK government is indicative of the distaste in the country for involvement in the Saudi system, which flagrantly violates the fundamental rights of its citizens, by stoning, crucifying and beheading people for crimes not recognised by the international community and often after unfair trials.”

She continued, “We notes that the government claims that it must balance human rights against other interests in its decision making, but the public outcry over the flogging of Raif Badawi, and others, including capital punishment cases, indicates that the government needs to rethink its priorities and develop an ethical approach to its dealings with Gulf states. We still have no clear answer on what other deals have been struck to sell justice services to rights abusing states for profit.”

Adam Hundt, the solicitor at Deighton Pierce Glynn representing GCHR in its judicial review of the Ministry of Justice’s activities, stated, “The government has been refusing this step for a long time, so it is a substantial climbdown. But questions remain about services the MoJ has been selling to other governments such as Oman and Macedonia, and the legality of the enterprise from the outset.”

The GCHR would like to seize this opportunity to extend its appreciation for everyone including organizations and individuals for their support to the legal challenge