On Friday a delegation of EU ambassadors handed a formal diplomatic note to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir during a meeting, BuzzFeed reported on Monday. The move reportedly followed the bloc’s failure to endorse a joint public statement on the issue.
An unnamed senior EU official, cited by the outlet, characterized the absence of a public statement as “sad,” pointing to the need to replace the bloc’s unanimity decision rule with a qualified majority system.
The demarche in question reportedly concerned the Middle Eastern country’s human rights record. It also called for closer EU–Saudi cooperation and continuation of reforms in the kingdom. The Saudi minister, in turn, said that Riyadh had evidence that some of the detainees had connections with foreign entities, seeking foreign funds and passing them information, the media outlet’s source said.
Raif Badawi, creator of the Free Saudi Liberals website, was arrested in 2012 following criticism of Saudi clerics and religious police, as well as over allegations of insulting Islam. In 2014, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His wife and children later fled Saudi Arabia for Canada and received Canadian citizenship on July 1.