'Hundreds of Saudi police officers were trained in Britain last year, despite claims the skills they acquire could help the regime commit torture, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.
The College of Policing, which sets the standards for UK police forces, has increased its work with a desert kingdom that faces global condemnation for alleged state-sponsored brutality.
The Telegraph investigation has found 268 Saudi police officers attended British training sessions between January and October last year. The figure dwarfs the number sent by other countries at the same time and comes as the regime faces accusations it arrested and tortured children, including some who were sentenced to death, according to a human rights charity.
Execution is still practised in the Gulf state, with beheading, stoning and crucifixion meted out for offences as obscure as witchcraft.
Maya Foa, of Reprieve, said: “The College of Policing previously trained Saudi police in techniques that, by the college’s own admission, risked being used to identify individuals for torture. The UK Government should not provide assistance that implicates the UK in torture and the death penalty.”
The precise nature of the training remains secret as the college refused to disclose details requested under Freedom of Information laws. Previous evidence implies it could include courses on tackling cybercrime, digital forensic techniques and mobile phone analysis.
Reprieve said there had been cases where content from social media accounts and mobile phones was used as evidence to prosecute children, who were later sentenced to death. There is no evidence that the college’s training was used in these cases but the charity was concerned there was no safeguard to ensure Saudi forces did not use it to enforce its harsh anti-cybercrime laws.'
Read more: College of Policing training aids Saudi 'torture'
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