Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category
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 !
Post Script :
Read this also:
Updated on 05 – 09 – 2014
The court of appeal in Jeddah has upheld Raif Badawi’s sentence. On 07 May 2014, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. He was also slapped with a fine of one million Saudi riyals.Please read the call by Amnesty International dtd. 01 – 09 – 2014 below:
Details of e-petition and twitter campaigns :
Raif Badawy has been sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison on charges of apostasy. You are requested to join the global community in the campaign to free Raif Badawy.
Twitter hash tag: #FreeRaif
Post Script: By sentencing his lawyer Mr.Waleed Abul Khair, the King and his minions have encroached all limits.
Twitter hash tag : #FreeWaleed
Petition to Free Waleed Abul Khair
Thank You for your help. Long live Secular Democracy!
3. IHEU urges
Mubarak Bala, a 29-year-old Ex-Muslim Nigerian has been
forced to undergo psychiatric treatment against his will by
his father and other family members following his coming
out as an atheist in a Shariah imposed Muslim state of Kano.
This article will give you an idea of what happened.
Continuous updated information is provided here.
An example of Mubarak’s social criticism:
To get information regarding organizational activities:
In order to make this campaign a success, you are requested
to sign the petition below and share it in social media:
Thank you for your co-operation.
Skepticism and confirmation:
Mubarak is now free.Thanking every one for joining the campaign.
It is high time for the Global community to take up the task of persuading rulers to respect freedom of conscience of individuals wherever fanatical masses and decadent judicial systems compel even the magnanimous and sophisticated heads of states to bow before medieval obscurantism. The following is the link to petition the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights requesting them to intervene in the case of Raif Badawi. Our last post carries detailed background information regarding what went on in the case of Raif Badawi’s and his other liberal Saudi friends’ efforts to bring reforms and democratic rights in the Saudi Kingdom. You are requested to sign the petition. Please spread the word so that all persons interested in freedom of expression and conscience may know about this campaign. Do it with all your might because you will be saving many many precious lives thereby.
The decadent judicial system in Saudi Arabia has once again come under criticism. Raef Badawi, an Arabian blogger has been recommended to be tried before a high court on charge of apostasy. If proved guilty by the obsolete judicial system, such accused persons are liable to be executed. Blasphemy carries death penalty under their interpretation of Sharia law.
Raaif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian liberal is co-founder of a website, ‘Free Saudi Liberals’. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known for all sorts of Human Rights abuses. Opposition leaders, enthusiasts for reform and human rights activists face trials under fake charges. There are reports that more than 70% of the people can be considered as dissenters; but charges of blasphemy and apostasy which attract death penalty keep people tongue-tied from expressing their views in public. Mohamed Al-Saif observes that the ‘liberal’ movement has emerged during the last two decades. He says,
“So what we are really witnessing here is a growing Saudi social and civil movement seeking to modernize society and promote civic values. The fact is that Saudi liberals are only a small faction of this movement.”
According to the above report dated 10- 5- 2012, the group of young Saudi activists decided to celebrate Saudi Liberal Day on 7th May every year. They wanted to work as a modernizing agency in the Saudi society. “Saudi activist Souad Al-Shammary, presents herself as the secretary general of the Saudi Liberal Network.”
All such attempts get thwarted under the repressive regime. See for example, the following links:
We are told that ‘ Tuwaa’ and ‘Dar al-Nadwa’ were shut down by the government. The reform movement had kept on sending the King its proposals in the form of petitions. King Abdulla allowed some persons to meet him. Some of them were arrested on ‘contested and fabricated’ accusations. The ‘mabahith’(secret Police) arbitrarily arrest former judge, advocates, medical doctors etc. who are detained in unknown locations on dubious charges without any regard to rule of law- even Saudi Code of Criminal Procedure. The kingdom has always been afraid of civil participation.
“ On April 12, 2006, Musa al-Qarni, another of those arrested this month, was among four men who petitioned King Abdullah for permission to open an Islamic Civil Society organization with the aim of discussing “freedom, justice, equality, citizenship, pluralism, [proper] advice, and the role of women.” Neither the king’s office nor any other government agency ever replied.”
Critics of government are not allowed to leave the country. Professors lose positions in University. Rights activists and journalists get instructions not to write or publish.
The attack on cultural and creative activities is equally deplorable. Turki al-Hamad (58) is a novelist. Perhaps he is much more outspoken. Angelo Young in an article on 25-12-2012 says,
“Novelist Turki al-Hamad, 58, one of Saudi Arabia’s more unapologetic and outspoken liberal voices, is now in custody for a series of posts he published on his Twitter last weekend comparing fundamentalist Islamist ideology and its strict social controls to Nazism and suggesting that political Islamists like those allied with Saudi Arabia’s royal family have taken their adulation of Prophet Muhammad too far.”
The Time article, ‘Triumphant Trilogy’ on 01-09-2005 by Malu Halasa sheds light on the approach of the government on publication of his novels: Adama(1998), Shumaisi and Karadib(2000). In 1999, Crown Prince Abdullah had offered him body guards for protection. The religious clerics went on with their fatwas and death threats. Now he is in custody for his tweets and the crown prince who protected him earlier is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Royal Highness King Abdullah Ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz al-Saud.
Raaif Badawi was arrested in June 2012 for insulting Islam and disobedience. Sebastian Usher , Arab affairs editor of BBC News says that though the court had the power to sentence him to death if found guilty, ‘ it refused to charge him, referring his case back to a lower court’.
Ameera Al Hussaini of Global Voices reported that his lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair said that the apostasy case against him had been dismissed and that it was not proven to the judges that the accused had insulted God or the Prophet.
Ahmed Al Omran of Riyad Bureau quotes Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North African program:
“Raif Badawi’s trial for ‘apostasy’ is a clear case of intimidation against him and others who seek to engage in open debates.”
Hail Arabian Renaissance!
” ………………So for me, the Supreme Court’s ruling is not just baffling, it is a tragedy of epic proportions. Welcomed only by irrational conservatives and the lunatic fringe, it goes against everything that so many Indians, whatever their personal orientation, have fought for over the past several decades. It goes against the wonderful quality of acceptance that is indisputably part of our cultural fabric.
It goes against the tide of recent history. It goes against every measure of justice. It must be reversed. It will be reversed. This is India after all, not Putin’s Russia or the Ayatollahs’ Iran.” – Siddharth Dube
Read the article in The Hindu
Here we have details about the campaign.
Sign a petition and spread the word.
Post Script : Center For Inquiry wrote to Government of India: