John Key meets the Saudi Arabian king.
DURING AN OFFICIAL VISIT to Saudi Arabia in April, the Prime Minister commented that he was 'confident' the country's record on human rights was slowly improving as it continued to 'open up to the world'.

In its 2015 World Report, Human Rights Watch comments:

Saudi Arabia continued in 2014 to try, convict, and imprison political dissidents and human rights activists solely on account of their peaceful activities. Systematic discrimination against women and religious minorities continued. Authorities failed to enact systematic measures to protect the rights of 9 million foreign workers. As in past years, authorities subjected hundreds of people to unfair trials and arbitrary detention. New anti-terrorism regulations that took effect in 2014 can be used to criminalize almost any form of peaceful criticism of the authorities as terrorism.

The report says that Saudi Arabia executed at least 68 people between January and November 2014, mostly for murder, drug offences, and armed robbery. Thirty-one of those executed were convicted for non-violent crimes, including one man sentenced for 'sorcery'.

This is hardly the human rights record of a country that is 'slowly improving'.

In this episode of the Empire Files Abby Martin takes a hard look the brutal reality of the police-state monarchy of Saudi Arabia and tells the untold people's history of resistance to it.


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