Gabriel: Saudi Arabia must put up with human rights criticism (dpa German Press Agency)

Riyadh (dpa) – Germany’s Deputy Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel – who is visiting Saudi Arabia – said on Saturday the kingdom must get used to criticism of its human rights record.
Gabriel, the leader of Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), was speaking after talks with Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, and with the case of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in mind.
“I think it is quite normal for people around the world to be interested in this. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone here,” he said.
Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years’ detention, 1,000 lashes and a fine for remarks against Islam in a web forum, and his case has made worldwide headlines.
Gabriel is in Saudi Arabia at the head of a delegation of nearly 80 German business leaders.
He is expected to meet the kingdom’s Crown Prince Muqrin on Sunday.
The Gulf tour will also take the German delegation to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.