UK challenged over failure to revoke arms exports to Saudi Arabia http://www.irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=30447224&SRCH=1
The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has launched legal proceedings against the government's failure to revoke any licences for the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia used against protesters in Bahrain.'We contend that the failure of the UK government to act to revoke arms export licences to Saudi Arabia is unlawful and cannot be justified,” said CAAT spokesperson Kaye Stearman.“The difference in the treatment of Bahrain, where licences have been revoked, and Saudi Arabia, where they have not, further undermines the government's credibility,' Stearman said.
CAAT has started the legal challenge by writing to Business Secretary Vince Cable setting out their intention to request a judicial review of his department's failure, despite evidence that UK-manufactured armoured vehicles have been deployed by the Saudi government in Bahrain.The letter from their lawyers, Leigh Day and Co, reiterates the UK government's own export licensing criteria that it will “not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression”, according to a copy obtained by IRNA. It argues that following the despatch of Saudi troops to quell protesters in Bahrain in March, it is clear that their equipment might be used for internal repression.
“In addition, UK weaponry might be used for internal repression within Saudi Arabia, which is on the Foreign Office's list of countries with 'the most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns', CAAT also said. The Saudi troops were listed going into Bahrain with Tactica vehicles supplied by Britain's largest defence manufacturer BAE Systems and armed with machine guns to “deal decisively” with threats to the stability of oil-rich nations.In the past five months, the UK government has hastily revoked dozens of arms licences for Arab states facing pro-democracy protests, including 39 issued for Bahrain, but as yet no licences have been revoked for Saudi Arabia.