December 3, 2019 / 2:00 PM / 2 days ago

German court annuls de facto armored vehicles export ban to Saudi Arabia

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court on Tuesday annulled a de facto export ban that had prevented arms manufacturer Rheinmetall from exporting armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, saying German authorities had not followed correct procedures.

In November last year, Germany imposed a ban on future arms sales to Saudi Arabia and temporarily halted deliveries of previously approved kit after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Riyadh’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul.

But the court ruled that authorities had failed to follow proper procedures in revoking a previously issued license allowing the sale of 110 vehicles to Saudi Arabia, 10 of which had already been sent by the end of last October.

A legal source said the company in question was Rheinmetall.

The court said the manner in which the export license had been revoked indicated that authorities were trying to avoid being forced to pay compensation.

A spokeswoman for the federal economy ministry, which is in charge of arms export licenses, said the government would carefully examine the ruling, which it can appeal.

Rheinmetall was not immediately available to comment.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Tassilo Hummel, Kathrin Jones and Thomas Escritt

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