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Darren calls for independent inquiry into UAE death

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones signed a cross-party letter calling on the UAE to allow independent investigations into the death of a female prisoner from breast cancer.

The letter was published in the Guardian on 29th July and can be found here.

Darren said:

“I’ve signed a cross-party letter in The Guardian calling for an inquiry into Alia Abdulnoor’s death in UAE custody in May 2019. Diagnosed with breast cancer a month after her arrest in February 2017, she was denied adequate medical care until it was too late.

In the last months of her life, the UAE ignored calls from the UN to grant her early release on medical grounds. Instead, Alia died in inhumane conditions, shackled to a hospital bed, in a windowless room without ventilation.

As reported by many news outlets, after being denied a fair trial, Alia received a 10-year jail sentence for abetting al-Qaida-led terrorism. Many believe her arrest was linked to her support of Syrian people after the outbreak of the uprising, specifically her fundraising that sent money to Syrian women and children. Human rights groups have also commented that Alia’s statements may have been taken under torture and her trial was marred by due-process violations.

Alia’s case is not sadly isolated – for example, Ali Issa Ahmad, from Wolverhampton, recently brought a case to the UN alleging he was tortured while on holiday in the UAE for wearing a Qatari football shirt. British citizen, Matthew Hedges was also detained in solitary confinement in the UAE for seven months on allegations of spying, and has now lodged a complaint with the UN: https://www.theguardian.com/…/matt-hedges-uk-academic-accus…

A freedom of information response obtained by the Guardian revealed that between 2016 and 2018 more than 1,000 British citizens were arrested and detained in the UAE“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren demands PM support British prisoners in Iran

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones signed a cross-party letter to then Tory leadership candidates, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, calling on them to use all diplomatic powers at the Prime Minister’s disposal to free British prisoners in Iran.

Darren said:

“Yesterday (22nd July 2019), I signed a letter to both candidates in the Tory leadership contest regarding the unfair imprisonment of British nationals and residents in Iran.

Just this week, we have heard one of these political prisoners, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been returned to solitary confinement after a traumatic stay in a psychiatric unit. The standards foreign nationals are experiencing in Iranian jails fall well below those internationally accepted.

I know Jeremy and his team at the FCO have worked hard to move Nazanin’s case forward in recent months, but we now need to see robust action from our new Prime Minister. Of course, I hope on this occasion he can recall the required detail to ensure he is supporting Nazanin and others rather than working against them“.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren demands cessation of visa fees for commonwealth armed forces personnel

In April 2019, MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a cross party letter, along with 130 other MPs, calling on the Home Secretary to cease charging visa fees for commonwealth servicemen and women.

At that time (April 2019) Darren said:

“I am pleased to have signed this letter – all visa fees, alongside the Home Office’s assessment process, need a total re-think, but making money out of those who have risked their lives for this country (as the cost to the tax payer to process these applications is very low) is totally unacceptable and must stop”.

In July 2019, Darren updated that:

“Charging high visa fees to those who have sacrificed, and put their life on the line, to serve this country is no way to thank them. The fees for Leave to Remain are over £3000, so this is not a small amount were asking brace service personnel to find! The Royal British Legion are now running a campaign to help raise awareness of this injustice and are asking for people to write to their MP. Whilst I welcome any contact from my constituents, I have already pledged my support to this campaign and will proudly continue to do so”.

 

 

 

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Darren demands formal apology for Amritsar Massacre

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office after signing a cross party letter, calling on the government to issue a formal apology for British actions in the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919.

Darren said:

” I’ve now received a reply from the Government following the joint letter I signed seeking a full apology for the massacre in 1919 at Amritsar.

This half-hearted response isn’t good enough – the Government has missed an important opportunity, given the 100 year anniversary, to issue an apology for this appalling event. I will continue to call for an official apology”.

“I“.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren demands cessation of visa fees for commonwealth armed forces personnel

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a cross party letter, along with 130 other MPs, calling on the Home Secretary to cease charging visa fees for commonwealth servicemen and women who, after their service to this country, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (which costs £2389 per person, per application).

Darren said:

“I am pleased to have signed this letter – all visa fees, alongside the assessment process, need a total re-think, but making money out of those  who have risked their lives for this country (as the cost to the tax payer to process these applications is very low) is totally unacceptable and must stop”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren meets Southmead Sudanese community

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones recently met members of Southmead’s Sudanese community at the Greenway Café to discuss the on-going conflict in Sudan.

Darren said after their meeting:

“I was pleased to meet a number of Southmead constituents with Sudanese heritage to discuss the on-going violence in the country. We talked about what I can do to raise the profile of this often-invisible conflict in Westminster and share the plight of those living surrounded war, food shortages and human rights abuses including sexual violence.”.

 

Darren questions Government over arms sales to Saudi Arabia

In light of the concern over the use of UK made weapons by Saudi Arabia in the Yemen, Darren raised a question with the Department for International Trade. The Department is responsible for making risk assessments for the purpose of handing out licences to UK businesses to export weapons.

Darren asked:

 To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will publish the risk assessments made by his Department on the granting of export licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia since 25 May 2010.

A representative of the Department, Graham Stuart MP (Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) replied:

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework for considering all applications to export military goods to Saudi Arabia. The policy remains as announced to Parliament in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2014:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140325/wmstext/140325m0001.htm#14032566000018 and updated with an additional policy, as announced in a Written Ministerial Statement on 13 September 2018:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-09-13/HCWS957/.

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Darren speaks about Modern Slavery in Bristol

Modern slavery, whereby people are forced into slavery often after being trafficked, is a serious problem in Bristol North West; Avon and Somerset Police have found slavery at Nail Bars and Car Washes in the constituency.

Darren spoke in a Parliamentary debate on Modern Slavery in Westminster Hall (Parliament’s second chamber) to highlight the problem in Bristol North West and further afield, and what is being done to address it. You can watch this below:

Darren voices concerns about technology defence risks

Darren asked Sam Gyimah, Conservative Minister for Universities and Science, about how we can make sure high-tech Quantam technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands through business deals. He also asked the minister about other aspects of UK science, including access to funding after Brexit.

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Darren highlights issues of climate change and arms technology in relation to Britain’s place in the world

Today there was a debate in the House of Commons about ‘Global Britain’. Darren used the opportunity to talk about the risks of climate change and arms technology to Britain and the international order.