16 April 2008
Christians welcome High Court ruling on BAE and Saudi Arabia
Christian campaigners have called for the reopening of a corruption investigation into the arms company BAE Systems following a landmark ruling in the High Court last week. The court ruled that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had acted unlawfully by cutting short an investigation into BAE's Saudi arms deals after the government received a threat from the Saudi regime. The Christian Network of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has urged the Christian community to back the widespread calls for the investigation to be reopened.
The legal challenge was brought by CAAT along with The Corner House, an anti-corruption NGO. The judges detailed how BAE lobbied the government and how the Saudi regime threatened to cancel the latest arms deal and withdraw diplomatic co-operation if the investigation was not stopped. In the light of the judgment, there have been widespread calls for the SFO to continue its investigation and for the government not to stand in its way.
Alun Morinan, Co-ordinator of the CAAT Christian Network said:
"The decision of the High Court is to be applauded. As Christians we are called to work for, and uphold, peace and justice. Under the spell of BAE, our government has managed to make a mockery of both. First, they facilitated the sale of fighter aircraft to a country with an appalling record of human rights abuse. Second, they sought to place BAE above the law by cutting short a criminal investigation."
There has been support for the reopening of the investigation from across the political spectrum. Those backing such a move include Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Labour MP Roger Berry, who chairs the Committees on Arms Export Controls.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade. CAAT has thousands of supporters across and beyond the UK and receives 80% of its funding from individual supporters' donations.
2. CAAT includes people of all faiths and none. The CAAT Christian Network brings together Christians of many backgrounds who support CAAT's aims.
3. The High Court ruled on Thursday 10th April 2008 that the Serious Fraud Office, acting on advice from government, had acted unlawfully by cutting short a corruption investigation into BAE Systems' arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The judges detailed how BAE and the Saudi regime lobbied the government and how the Saudi prince Bandar threatened to cancel the latest arms deal and withdraw diplomatic co-operation if the investigation was not stopped. This was described by the judges as a "successful attempt by a foreign government to pervert the course of justice in the United Kingdom". Click here to read more.
4. Spokespeople for CAAT and for the CAAT Christian Network are available for interview.
020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232