The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has urged the UK to respect the kingdom’s use of the death penalty. In a Channel 4 News interview, Adel al-Jubeir was told by interviewer Jonathan Rugman that Saudi Arabia has a “terrible image problem,” but responded by saying that their actions should be respected.
“We have a fundamental difference, in your country, you do not execute people, we respect it. In our country, the death penalty is part of our laws and you have to respect this as it is the law,” he said.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people in one day, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. This mass use of the death penalty was met with international outcry, throwing the kingdom’s poor human rights record into the spotlight once again.
Al-Jubeir acknowledged that Saudi Arabia has a bad image in the UK, noting that the country must do more to improve this.
“With regards to the perception of Saudi Arabia among the British public, this is a problem that we need to work on. We have not been good at explaining ourselves," he said.
“We have not done a good job at reaching out to the British media or the British public or to the British institutions, academic institutions, think tanks and so forth. We maybe not have been as communicative as we should be.”
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