THE Salisbury Group of Amnesty International is extremely concerned that the UK Government is generally unwilling to criticise Saudi Arabia over its use of executions.

When the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince visited Britain in March, there was widespread concern over whether the UK was focusing on trade at the expense of human rights, and it is our view that Teresa May could have been far more outspoken about human rights during the visit.

We understand executions in Saudi Arabia were raised, but the scale of the problem is daunting: Saudi Arabia executed 148 people last year, to add to the 300-plus it executed in the previous two years.

The majority of these executions took place after deeply unfair trials, many of them also involving the use of torture and forced confessions.

China, also a major UK trading ‘partner’, executed even more - possibly thousands - in total secrecy, as capital punishment is a state secret in China.

We are not saying the UK should be constantly lecturing other countries, but Britain should be standing up for basic human rights, including an end to beheadings and hangings.

Amnesty International have recently published a report on the current world-wide situation in respect of the death penalty. Salisbury Journal readers can find out more about the report, and how to support our campaign to abolish the death penalty at

Lesley Curbishley