HC Deb 20 March 1985 vol 75 cc532-3W
Mr. Mason

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, during the visit of the Minister of State to Saudi Arabia, he protested about the recent sentence of flogging passed on a British subject, Mr. John Kelly; and whether he discussed the methods of punishment employed by the Saudi authorities.

Mr. Luce

I made clear to my Saudi hosts that differences of culture, law and tradition could give rise to strong feelings in both countries which they and we should work to overcome. Her Majesty's embassy in Jedda had already expressed to the local Saudi authorities its concern at the severity of the sentence passed on Mr. Kelly.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Whitney) said on 27 June 1984, at column 981, we accept that there is concern in Britain over the methods of punishment employed in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities have been made aware that the administration of strokes of the cane is abhorrent to British opinion. Most expatriates are well aware that corporal punishment is almost invariably imposed in cases of breaches of the Saudi law relating to alcohol. I understand that the ordeal is not intended to inflict severe pain. It is intended more as a humiliation than as a physical punishment.

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