British prime minister David Cameron refused to give the reason why the government agreed to a “squalid” deal with Saudi Arabia — as they prepare to execute a teenager by beheading.
Cameron appeared in an interview with Channel 4’s Jon Snow and floundered when asked about the recently exposed deal between the British government and the Saudis, which allowed both nations to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council.
Wikileaks released several documents detailing the agreement in 2013 and both countries were later elected to the 47-member council until this year.
“This sounds a bit squalid for one of the most human rights abusing regimes on earth,” Snow said.
Cameron said he would attempt to discuss the death penalty case of the 17-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was arrested at the age of 14, but only if there was an “opportunity” with the Saudi authorities.
Saudi Arabia beheaded 47 people today, including Shiite cleric #Nimir https://t.co/SJGlNQjQjx See also: https://t.co/RsleSyCc5Q
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 2, 2016
“We oppose the death penalty anywhere and everywhere in all our international contacts,” Cameron said.
Snow asked Cameron three times why the government agreed to a deal with the repressive state that routinely uses capital punishment.
“Well, I’ve answered the question,” Cameron replied.
Snow quickly responded, “Well, that isn’t an answer is it? I mean we have done a horrid deal.”
The prime minister went on to explain the British government’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and that they receive “important intelligence and security information” that keeps the country safe.
“The reason we have the relationship is our own national security,” Cameron said. “There was one occasion since I’ve been prime minister where a bomb that would have potentially blown up over Britain was stopped because of intelligence we got from Saudi Arabia.”
“Of course it would be easier for me to come on your programme and say: ‘I’m not having anything to do with these people, it’s all terribly difficult etcetera etcetera.’ For me, Britain’s national security and our people’s security comes first.”
Watch the interview here:
Featured image via screen grab
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