Andrea Vance wrote yesterday on Key’s current trip to Saudi Arabia (all quotes from this piece). It’s a country with a deeply troubling record on human rights:
Amnesty International’s New Zealand executive director Grant Bayldon said Saudi Arabia’s justice system was “a sham.”
Research published by Amnesty International last month found human rights activists were routinely harassed and ill-treated in detention and the use of torture by the security forces was widespread.
“The Saudi Arabian disrespect for human rights is absolutely breath-taking. People are held without trial, they are tortured into confessing crimes. They are convicted in shameful trials without legal support and those trials regularly end in horrific floggings, amputations and public beheadings,” Bayldon said.
More than 50 people have this year been killed by the regime, which leaves corpses on public display as a gruesome crime deterrent. … Floggings and the amputation of limbs are used as punishment.
In January, footage showing Burmese woman Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim dragged down the street to her death shocked the world. Accused of killing her six-year-old stepdaughter, Bassim was thrown to the ground in the holy city of Mecca. As she screamed her innocence, a curved sword, swung by an executioner in traditional white robes, severed her head.
Of Islamic State Key said “I will not, will not, stand by while …people are out there being beheaded”, but he is in Saudi Arabia looking for a trade deal. So why the double standard? Key’s reasoning:
“…In the case of ISIL they don’t act within the laws of their country, they are not a country. Indonesia, they have the death penalty. United States, they have the death penalty. They have a judicial process,” he said. “That’s just not the case with ISIL, they are terrorists who undertake murder against people.”
Being a country with a “judicial process” doesn’t make wrong right. Iraq was a country with a judicial process that the “coalition of the willing” invaded and destroyed (John Key cheered them on) – incidentally creating the power vacuum that spawned ISIL. If Saudi Arabia’s justice system and human rights record is as bad as Amnesty says it is, then this is not a country that we should be seeking closer economic ties with.