UK politicians and human rights campaigners have criticised the global response to King Abdullah’s death, with many choosing to focus on the country’s poor human rights record.
There was widespread anger after the UK government lowered its flag to half mast as a sign of respect and advised other government and council buildings to do the same. However, most refused to follow the government’s lead.
Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s UK director, told the Guardian newspaper: “No-one is flying flags for the scores of people Saudi Arabia executes each year after unfair trials, and we should focus on the human rights reality in Saudi Arabia not the emblems of diplomacy.
“When the flags are run back up their flagpoles the UK government needs to move on from the tributes and put on public record their desire to see sweeping human rights reform under King Salman.”
Others questioned why tributes were being made despite the late king refusing to grant a pardon to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. He was recently sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for writing a critical blog. Badawi received the first 50 lashes two weeks ago, leading to many protests around the world in support of him.
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell told the newspaper: “It is an extraordinary misjudgment by the out-of-touch elite in Whitehall who think it is appropriate to do this. On the day that flags at Whitehall are flying at half-mast for King Abdullah, how many public executions will there be?”
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.