UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia ruled lawful


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EPA

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Thousands of civilians have died as a result of air strikes in the Yemen civil war

UK government arms sales to Saudi Arabia are lawful, the High Court has ruled, after seeing secret evidence.

The court rejected claims the government was acting illegally by not suspending weapon sales to the kingdom, which is fighting a war in Yemen.

The UN claims Saudi air strikes against Houthi rebels in that country have caused thousands of civilian deaths.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade, which brought the case, said it would appeal against the ruling.

The group had claimed the UK has contravened humanitarian law and attacked the refusal of the Secretary of State for International Trade to suspend export licences for the sale or transfer of arms and military equipment.

But Lord Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, sitting in London, said the decision to carry on the arms trade was not unlawful.

The judges said that “closed material”, which had not been made public for national security reasons, “provides valuable additional support for the conclusion that the decisions taken by the secretary of state not to suspend or cancel arms sales to Saudi Arabia were rational”.



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