The fact that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an anachronism has already been made clear by us. Repeated requests for reform have been ignored or crushed in revenge.
The most heinous attack on liberty and democratic awareness – the sentence to imprisonment,fine and an additional travel ban after completing the prison term on a human rights lawyer who argued the case for Raif Badawy – has been condemned by human rights organizations and all other freedom loving individuals. But the regime is not the one to heed.
It seems there will not be an end to repressions and human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia if the present regime continues. Waleed Abul khair is not only a human rights activist, but a specialist lawyer in that field. The fact that he is a defender of victims who had stood against Salafist clergy-sponsored and Shariah based violations of human rights perpetrated by the decadent bureaucracy and ruling dynasty is the sole reason behind the inadmissible and shocking abuses he has been subjected to.
He was born in Jiddah in 1979. He founded the first Saudi Human Rights organization MHRSA registered in Canada in 2012. In 2007, the liberal activists released a petition demanding a constitutional monarchy by means of free elections in place of the present absolute monarchy. They were arrested in February 2007 accusing them of collecting funds for terrorism. Next year he organized a hunger strike for prisoners of conscience. (1)
Saudi monarchy has a dirty history of repressing pluralism and human rights activism. The Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights (ACPRA) founded in 2009 was not given permission to function by the Ministry of Interior . Two founders of ACPRA were convicted for breach of allegiance to the monarchy and disobedience, undermining the security, inciting to disturb public order by calling for demonstrations, providing wrong information to foreigners etc. including creation of an unauthorized organization. In March 2013, Abdullah al-Hamid was awarded 10 years’ imprisonment and Muhammad al-Qahtani, 11 years’. They were also put under a travel ban. The court ordered dissolution of the Association, confiscation of its property and closure of its accounts on social networks. Abdul Rahman al-Hamid, Abdullah Hamid’s brother was detained incommunicado for a month and then moved to the prison in Buraydah, qassim province and is being held there without charges (2)
Abul Khair had a role in the creation of several civic initiatives including Women’s driving campaign. In 2011, he was named as one of the top 100 twitter activists with more than 40,000 followers by Forbes Middle east. Since 2010, his international reputation as a genuine representative of Arab human rights activists was viewed with jealousy and irritation by the authorities.
The trial of Fowzan al Harbi, the fourth founder member of ACPRA began on 4th December 2013. On June 25, 2014, the Riyadh criminal court sentenced him to seven years in prison along with a travel ban. ACPRA members Umar al-Sa’ id and Abdul Kareem Al-Khudhr were also sentenced to prison. On 8th April, Abdul Azeez al-Ghamdi was detained. On April 17, the Special Criminal Court sentenced Fadhel Maki al-Manaf to 15 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Saudi Riyals plus the travel ban. He has been reported to have suffered torture and other ill treatment in detention. (ibid)
The first trial of Waleed Abul Khair was in 2011 after signing the statement denouncing persecution of reformists. On October 29, 2013, he was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment by the criminal court. On February 6, 2014, the Court of Appeal in Mekka confirmed the punishment.
The Special Criminal Court in another case has now sentenced Waleed abul Khair to 15 years in prison,a fine of 200,000Riyals and a travel ban for a further period of 15 years subsequent to his completing the prison term.The trial relating to this began on October 6th,2013. He was arrested without explanation on April 15, and was put in solitary confinement in Al-Hair jail. It is alleged that he was exposed to bright light so as to deprive him of sleep. Then transferred to various detention centres, he is now in Briman prison, Jiddah. (ibid)
We request all the humanists, secularists and other supporters of human rights to call upon the authorities of Saudi Arabia to free Waleed Abul Khair immediately. There is no justification for his detention.
“The sentencing of a prominent Saudi Arabian lawyer and human rights defender to 15 years in prison has dealt a fresh blow to peaceful activism and freedom of expression in the Kingdom, said Amnesty International.”
He is being punished under the new anti-terrorism law.(6)
“The Specialized Criminal Court is a security and counter-terrorism related court whose rules and procedures remain secret and which activists claim is under the direct control of the Interior Ministry. Ahead of his sentencing Waleed Abu al-Khair stated that he considered the court illegitimate and the judge to be biased and would refuse to defend himself in court. ”
Waleed Abul Khair is a prisoner of conscience. He has been exercising his freedom of expression, association and assembly peacefully. He has every right to do it.
A monarchy which is nothing but an anachronism in 21st century is maintaining a judicial system which is a shame to the entire humanity. It is the responsibility of all lovers of democracy to pressurize all forces concerned to take note of the pathetic condition in to which the top oil exporting country has fallen and to act ethically and responsibly in ‘International Relations’.
We request the international community to bring all possible pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and demand the unconditional release of Waleed Abul Khair and all other human rights activists immediately.
Please sign the Petition To Free Waleed Abul Khair
Please sign the Petition To Free Raif
Please sign the petition to Free Fadhil Makki al-Manasif
The brutality and abhorrent despotism of the king is evidenced by the cruelty shown to his four daughters and divorced wife. You can join The Twitter campaign under the hash tag #FreeThe4.
Please sign the Petition to Free The Four Daughters.
Let There Be Light !
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