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CRISPIN BLUNT CONDEMNS FOREIGN OFFICE INACTION OVER CONSTITUENT DETAINED IN SAUDI ARABIA


FCDO in urgent need of policy reform

Crispin Blunt today condemned the lack of British intervention over a constituent, Mr Christopher Emms, detained in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a result of a US abuse of the Interpol Red Notice System.


Emms was originally detained in the Kingdom as a result of a US extradition request issued in February, and has been unable to leave the Kingdom since - despite no allegation that he had broken international, British, or Saudi Arabian law.

In the last few days, Emms’ lawyer had been advised by Saudi authorities that his travel ban had been lifted. However, when they attended to retrieve his passport, Mr Emms was unexpectedly detained overnight. Emms was later presented to a Saudi Arabian court who denied the US extradition request and released Mr Emms without requiring bail. The Saudi Arabian court also lifted the travel ban.


The Ministry of the Interior have informed Emms’ lawyer that he will be arrested and detained overnight any time they come across him and he will be again put in front of a judge even if they will rule as before.

Crispin Blunt wonders whether American diplomats continue to play an improper hand and pressure some Saudi officials to ignore their own legal rulings, even though this goes against Saudi law and infringes on the ordinary legal and fundamental human rights of his constituent. But it’s difficult to assess this when our government won’t engage at all.