SANAA, April 22 (YPA) – The US House of Representatives voted on a bill, “Protecting Saudi Opponents for 2021,” which restricts arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
The bill bans sales of weapons and other defense services to Saudi Arabia unless the US president assures Congress that Saudi Arabia has not “forcibly returned, silenced, or killed dissidents abroad, Arbitrary detention of US citizens or foreigners; and torture of detainees ”.
The bill was voted by 350 votes to 71, and it will be sent to the Senate.
In February, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said that selling precision-guided missiles and armed drones to the Gulf states did not advance US security interests, in the absence of any change in behavior from Washington’s partners.
Murphy stressed the need to reset the US’s relations with the Gulf states, explaining that “there is no hope for resuming arms sales without new conditions.”
In the same month, 99 Arab and international human rights organizations and networks called for a freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, an end to the war, and the lifting of the siege on Yemen.
Washington acknowledged in its human rights report for the year 2020, which deals with “governmental respect for civil and political rights” in several countries of the world, that “unlawful killings” took place in Saudi Arabia, where “death sentences were carried out for non-violent crimes and cases of enforced disappearance were recorded.”
The annual report stated that the Saudi government “did not punish officials accused of committing human rights violations,” and recorded “involvement in harassment and intimidation against Saudi dissidents living abroad.”
The American report continued: “Saudi Arabia has known arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as serious restrictions on freedom of expression and the press.”