Sunday, May 11, 2014

Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair

This brief piece in The Economist stopped me in my tracks this morning:
A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Raif Badawi, the founding editor of an internet forum for discussing the role of religion in the kingdom, to ten years in jail and 1,000 lashes, according to Saudi media.


Raif Badawi

When I looked it up, I saw that he has also been given a $266,000 fine. Human Rights Watch says, "Badawi can appeal the verdict, but unfortunately he'll have to do so without the help of his lawyer, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair.

Abu al-Khair is currently in Riyadh's Malaz Prison awaiting the resumption of his own criminal trial before Saudi Arabia's terrorism tribunal, the Specialized Criminal Court, on charges that include "breaking allegiance with the king," "making international organizations hostile to the kingdom," and "setting up an unlicensed organization."

I tried to find petitions on Abu al-Khair's behalf but didn't spot any. For more information about Raif Badawi:

* Free Raif Badawi on Facebook

* A petition to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) "Free and safeguard the liberal Saudi Raif Badawy, NO 1000 LASHES!!"

* Campaign for Free Expression

* Saudi blogger Raif Badawi gets 10 year jail sentence (BBC)

1 comment:

LInda Baie said...

Things seem to be getting tighter and tighter there. There are former parents who keep in touch who are from Saudi, and are fearful to go there anymore. They are sad, but afraid too. One of the CNA's who took care of my husband is from the Ukraine, says she could be arrested if she returned to visit her mother. She is now a US citizen, but the country would look at her as a betrayer, she told me. I'll check on the sites, Tabatha.