The PM And Prince Charles Critised For Flying To Saudi Arabia To Pay Their Respects

    People were already unhappy about the government's decision to fly flags at half-mast following the death of the late Saudi King Abdullah.

    The prime minister and Prince Charles are set to spark more anger after announcing they will today fly to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah, 90, who died on Thursday.

    The government was heavily criticised yesterday by human rights campaigners, politicians and voters after taking the decision to fly flags on all government buildings at half-mast.

    A spokesman for Westminster Abbey said it would have been "noticeably aggressive" if it had not flown the flag at half-mast . The Saudi Arabian embassy in the UK continued to fly their mask at full mast, as the country's custom is not to take part in official mourning.

    The critics including human rights activists said that praising Abdullah as a reformer when his government carried out public beheadings, lashing of journalists, and arresting women attempting to drive ignored the human rights issues in the country.

    Only last week, a woman was publicly beheaded after being convicted of sexual abuse and the murder of her step-daughter.

    Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: "No one is flying flags for the scores of people Saudi Arabia executes each year after unfair trials, and we should focus on the human rights reality in Saudi Arabia not the emblems of diplomacy."

    The Queen, now the world's oldest leader following the death of Abdullah, has written to Abdullah's half-brother and new monarch Salman to say Abdullah "will be long remembered by all who work for peace and understanding between nations and between faiths."

    Critics, including Sky News presenter Kay Burley, pointed at the lack of gender equality in Saudi Arabia.

    As PM and Charles head to Saudi Arabia here's a fun fact - some hospitals require male consent before women can receive treatment

    PoWales & PM fly to Saudi Arabia, country that flogs for blogs and cuts off women's heads for adultery,to pay respects to king #HumanRights

    And the assistant editor of The Mirror said Cameron was "selling his self-respect... for oil."

    Cameron's unethical foreign policy now sees him flying to Saudi to bow and scrape. Selling his self-respect and human rights for cheap oil

    A number of politicians this morning tweeted their displeasure at the gesture to fly the flags at half-mast:

    Simply do not understand why official buildings have been flying flag at half mast for Saudi King. Brutal regime that abuses human rights.

    Flying the Union Flag at half mast is hugely symbolic. #NotInMyName given the appalling human rights abuses in Saudi

    In our name Cameron & Charles 'pay their respects' to medieval barbarism and cruelty.

    President Obama has also drawn criticism after taking the decision to cut short a trip to India to go to Saudi Arabia, only weeks after not attending a unity march in France after terror attacks left over a dozen dead.

    But blew off France! RT @FoxNews: Obama cancels end of India trip to fly to Saudi Arabia following king's death