Saudi tyrant embraced by Gordon Brown

King Abdullah hosted at Downing Street & Buckingham Palace.

Protests re State Visit, arms sales and human rights abuses.

London - 29 October 2007

"Gordon Brown rightly refuses to meet Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugabe, but he happily welcomes to Downing Street the Saudi tyrant, King Abdullah. It is double standards," said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell will be joining protests this week in London against the Saudi leader's State Visit to Britain (details below).

"The Saudi regime is guilty of detention without trial, torture and public beheadings. Political parties, trade unions and non-Muslim religions are banned. Women not allowed to vote or drive a car. Gay people are flogged and executed. The country is a theocratic police state.

"Despite these shocking human rights abuses, the Queen has invited King Abdullah to stay with her at Buckingham Palace. Our head of state should not be entertaining a serial human rights abuser.

"King Abdullah should be arrested and put on trial for torture, not embraced and feted.

"The Prime Minister has spoken out against the Burmese junta, but he is silent about the grotesque human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Britain is propping up the King's dictatorship by buying his oil and selling him weapons. Gordon Brown is colluding with Abdullah's oppression of the Saudi people. He's putting money-making before human rights.

"Saudi Arabia has exported religious fundamentalism and terrorism around the world. It should be designated a pariah state. Instead, we are giving an oil-rich, pro-western despot the red carpet treatment. It is especially disgraceful that a Labour government is backing this blood-stained regime," said Mr Tatchell.

John McDonnell MP has tabled Early Day Motion 2102 opposing the Saudi State Visit.


McDonnell, John
"That this House notes with concern the state visit of King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom on 30th October 2007; believes that Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive societies on earth, with no political parties, free elections, independent media or trade unions; views with alarm the systematic human rights abuses that exist within the Kingdom, such as the lack of basic rights for women, the practice of public beheadings and the repression of homosexuals; condemns the recent sale of 72 Eurofighters to such a barbaric regime; and calls upon the British Government to base its foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia on democracy and human rights rather than on narrow economic interests."

Two protests are planned this week against King Abdullah's State Visit:

Protest 1:
Tuesday 30 October, 11.15am to 1pm, outside the ICA, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH, as King Abdullah passes down The Mall, en route to Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm.
This demonstration will protest against British arms sales to Saudi Arabia and demand a re-opening of the Serious Fraud Office inquiry into the bribery of senior Saudi officials. This demonstration is organised by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT).


More information about Tuesday's protest:
Symon Hill - CAAT - 020 7281 0297

Protest 2:
Wednesday 31 October, 6pm to 8pm, Saudi Embassy, 30 Charles Street, W1J 5DZ. A protest against human rights abuses.


Speakers include Labour MPs John McDonnell and Katy Clark; Saudi trade unionist, Yahya al-Alfaifi; Marsha-Jane Thompson, Chair of the Socialist Youth Network; Sandy Mitchell, a former British prisoner in Saudi Arabia; London Assembly Member, Murad Qureshi; and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.

"The protest has been called to oppose British support for this repressive tyranny, and to stop our foreign policy being dictated by the oil and defence industries," said protest co-organiser, Owen Jones. "Just recently, Britain sold 72 Eurofighters to the dictators in Riyadh," he added.

More information about Wednesday's protest:

Owen Jones - 07870331835
Marsha-Jane Thompson - 07983592998
Socialist Youth Network -
Published: 29/10/2007