Deutsche Welle reports that German Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel may have an uncomfortable trip to Saudi Arabia and its little neighbors in a few days, what with one thing and another.
From Saturday, he will be on a four-day journey through Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – all countries where Germany has significant business interests. Representatives from 140 German companies will be accompanying him.
Less exhilirating, however, is the fact that each of these countries is guilty of significant human rights atrocities in the name of Islamic law – including beheadings and brutal corporal punishment.
Oh, that. Well sure, but SIGNIFICANT BUSINESS INTERESTS.
The most notorious of these is Saudi Arabia, the first stop on Gabriel’s tour. Opposition parties have been making the usual appeals to Gabriel’s conscience in advance. Katrin Göring-Eckardt, parliamentary leader of the Green party, called on the vice chancellor to use his meetings to bring up the case of Raif Badawi, the DW prize-winning blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for allegedly “insulting Islam.” She also wants Badawi to be offered asylum in Germany. The socialist Left party MP Jan van Aken echoed the call and demanded that future weapons exports be made contingent on improvements in the human rights situation.
Good. Make it hot for them.