King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia receives the Wolf Bronze medal from King Carl Gustaf XV! of Sweden in this photo released by the Saudi Press Agency. Photo: AP / Scanpix
scout medal

Amnesty criticizes Swedish King for decorating Saudi King

Swedish King Carl Gustaf has come under criticism from at least one rights organization after awarding a scout medal to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Friday.

The Swedish branch of Amnesty International lashed out after King Carl Gustaf, the honorary chairperson of the World Scout Foundation, hung the medal around King Abdullah's neck.

"The situation in Saudi Arabia is extremely serious. Women are gravely discriminated against and freedom of expression is very limited. The death penalty exists there, and often those who are executed have not had a proper trial," says Amnesty's press secretary Elisabeth Löfgren to the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

Löfgren holds the Saudi king responsible.

However, from the government's side, there are no objections to King Carl Gustaf's visit to the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

"I don't think it's part of my role to have views on the awarding of scout medals," Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt tells news agency TT after a meeting with the King at the palace on Monday.

He notes, though, that Sweden and Saudi Arabia have diplomatic relations, and in that context, he believes it is possible to make important points regarding human and women's rights.

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