Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Says Brits Don't 'Respect' Death Penalty

15/01/2016 15:07 | Updated 08 February 2016
Saudi Foreign Minister on image problems

“You must realise, you do have a terrible image problem at the moment…”Jonathan Rugman questions Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on his country’s reputation following international outcry over a number of recent high-profile executions.Watch more:

Posted by Channel 4 News on Thursday, 14 January 2016

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister has urged Britons to "respect" his country's death penalty, as the brutal Saudi justice system strains relations between the two countries.

Adel Al-Jubeir faced tough questioning from Channel 4 News' Jonathan Rugman, who told the minister his country has a "terrible image problem" and asked: "You don't have to execute as many people as you do, do you?"

Al-Jubeir responded: "We have a fundamental difference, in your country, you do not execute people, we respect it. In our country, the death penalty is part of our laws and you have to respect this as it is the law."

The questioning comes after an international outcry over a number of high-profile executions in the state, including that of prominent Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Most of those executed were beheaded while some were shot by firing squads.

saudi ambassador

Adel Al-Jubeir faced tough questioning from Channel 4 News

Some 47 prisoners were executed by Saudi Arabia in one day earlier this month, prompting mass condemnation and protests across the Muslim world.

In the Channel 4 interview, Al-Jubeir said his country had to do more to address its bad reputation in the UK.

"With regards to the perception of Saudi Arabia among the British public, this is a problem that we need to work on. We have not been good at explaining ourselves," he said.

"We have not done a good job at reaching out to the British media or the British public or to the British institutions, academic institutions, think tanks and so forth. We maybe not have been as communicative as we should be."


At the time of Al-Nimr's execution, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: “2015 saw Saudi Arabia execute over 150 people, many of them for non-violent offences. Today's appalling news, with nearly 50 executed in a single day, suggests 2016 could be even worse.

“Alarmingly, the Saudi Government is continuing to target those who have called for domestic reform in the kingdom, executing at least four of them today.

"There are now real concerns that those protesters sentenced to death as children could be next in line to face the swordsman’s blade.

“Saudi Arabia's allies - including the US and UK - must not turn a blind eye to such atrocities and must urgently appeal to the Kingdom to change course.”

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