UK Liz Truss thanks Saudi Crown Prince for role in release of British detainees
Prime Minister Liz Truss has thanked Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his "personal role" in securing the release of five British detainees held by Russia-backed forces in Ukraine last week, her office said on Monday.
In a statement issued after Truss' first call with the Saudi crown prince since she took office, a spokesperson also said she "offered the UK’s continued support and encouragement for progress in Saudi Arabia’s domestic reforms".
Saudi Arabia is one of the world's worst human rights abusers.
Authorities in the Gulf Kingdom have regularly carried out arbitrary arrests and wrongly convicted peaceful dissidents, according to Human Rights Watch. Dozens of human rights defenders and activists are serving long prison sentences for criticising authorities or advocating for political reforms.
Salma al-Shehab, a Leeds university student, was on holiday in Saudi Arabia when she was arrested and sentenced to 34 years over mildly critical tweets.
Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani, a Saudi woman, was recently sentenced to 45 years in prison after she was accused of "using the internet to tear the social fabric".
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been directly linked to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer who was murdered in the Kingdom's Istanbul consulate in 2018.