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UK High Court to hear appeal against arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Human rights campaigners protest against arms sale to Saudi Arabia [Campaign Against Arms Trade/Flickr]

Two Court of Appeal judges today granted Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to appeal against the High Court judgement which allows the UK government to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

The judicial review is being brought against Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, for granting export licences amid extensive allegations of war crimes by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

"We are delighted the Court of Appeal judges have recognised that a full hearing into this case must take place. It is clear from the open evidence in this claim that there is a clear risk the arms sold from the UK might be used in serious violation of international law. Where our politicians have sadly failed to follows [sic] UK legislation and policy, our client hopes the Court will ensure the rule of law is upheld," Rosa Curling, lawyer at Leigh Day, said.

The UK has licensed some $5.4 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including $3.6 billion in value of aircrafts, helicopters and drones. In addition, $2.6 billion in value of grenades, bombs and missiles.

Read: Legal battle to make UK-Saudi Arabia arms sales unlawful

CAAT had requested permission to appeal against a judgement made in July last year which failed to class the granting of licences illegal.

The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has killed thousands of people and created one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. Despite this, the Saudi regime has been armed and supported every step of the way by successive UK governments

Andrew Smith, the media coordinator at CAAT, said.

"We believe that these arms sales are immoral, and are confident that the Court of Appeal will agree that they are unlawful," Smith continued.

Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen of war crimes and violating the law of armed conflict.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states to neutralise the Houthi opposition group in Yemen, running an air campaign since March 2015. According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 per cent of the country's population has been displaced.

Read: Rights groups fear $1bn US, Saudi arms deal will hit Yemen

Europe & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUKYemen
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