UK pulls out of £5.9m Saudi jail deal

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

The UK gov­ern­ment has with­drawn from a con­tro­ver­sial £5.9m pris­ons deal with Saudi Ara­bia, Down­ing Street has said.

The PM’s of­fi­cial spokes­woman said it re­flected the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to fo­cus on do­mes­tic pri­or­i­ties.

The deal was to pro­vide a “train­ing needs anal­y­sis” for Saudi prison ser­vice staff.

No 10 stressed pulling out of the deal was un­con­nected to the case of ex­pat Karl An­dree, jailed in Saudi Ara­bia af­ter be­ing caught with home­made wine.

It was thought 74-year-old Mr An­dree, who has been in jail for more than a year, was fac­ing 360 lashes but the BBC now un­der­stands a flog­ging was never on the cards.

De­spite with­draw­ing from the prison deal, Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Michael Gove in­sisted Bri­tain would main­tain its re­la­tion­ship with the coun­try. Photos of fe­male cabin crew ly­ing in the over­head lug­gage com­part­ments on board a Chi­nese air­line have gone vi­ral on so­cial media.

The im­ages, which were up­loaded on the pop­u­lar chat app WeChat, have been called bul­ly­ing by ne­ti­zens.

The post said cabin crew were “forced into lock­ers by se­cu­rity staff upon com­plet­ing 30 to 50 hours of ser­vice” as part of an “in­dus­try rit­ual”.

Kun­ming Air­lines has is­sued a state­ment say­ing it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

The com­pany said the in­ci­dent oc­curred af­ter the crew had com­pleted their du­ties and that the safety of the flight was not af­fected.

The air­line added that it had never re­ceived com­plaints from its cabin crew.

“The com­pany at­taches high im­por­tance to this in­ci­dent and will pre­vent such things from hap­pen­ing again,” the state­ment said.

Kun­ming Air­lines re­leased a state­ment say­ing the in­ci­dent was car­ried out “with­out its knowl­edge”

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