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Prioritise human rights over oil contracts in Saudi Arabia, GUE/NGL MEP tells Parliament

“The largest oil exporter in the world has executed 2,200 people in recent decades. Most of them were denied a proper defence, and at their trials there were forced to sign documents including questions that they didn't understand,” Urbán Crespo explained.

“The number of executions has increased significantly since King Salman acceded to the throne last January,” he continued.

Urbán Crespo told European High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini: “We have a problem: for too long you have kept Saudi Arabia as your preferred ally in the region thanks to the fruitful arms and infrastructure contracts for Spanish, French, British and German firms.

“In response to the systematic violations of human rights, we have heard only a deafening silence. There has not been the will from the European Union to address this issue. Instead the EU has been complicit, as shown in the information released by Wikileaks last year. In addition, Saudi Arabia was recently able to join the United Nations Human Rights Council thanks to support from the United Kingdom.

“We are servicing the multinational companies and participating in this situation at the expense of the victims.

“With these executions, Saudi Arabia, the great friend of European oil firms is stoking the fires of sectarian division in the region.

“You need to take a decision: giving the Sakharov Prize to a Saudi blogger and then looking the other way, that's one possibility, or you can really address the issue of human rights even if it does cost a few contracts in Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he concluded.

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