Blogger in Saudi Arabia faces public flogging

Tomorrow, after Friday prayers on January 9, Saudi Arabia plans to publicly flog Prisoner of Conscience Raif Badawi. His crime? Freely expressing his ideas online.

Raif started the Saudi Arabian Liberals, a blog where readers could openly discuss religion, politics and other topics in Saudi Arabia. In retaliation for this peaceful act, Raif is serving 10 years and was sentenced to 1,000 lashes.

According to information obtained by Amnesty International, Raif will be subjected to approximately 50 lashes tomorrow, while the rest of the full sentence of 1,000 lashes will be meted out over a period of 20 weeks.

Raif Badawi was initially charged with “apostasy,” a crime that carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. He has been detained since June 17, 2012. His lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, is also serving a 15-year sentence for his work in defense of human rights. Raif’s wife and children escaped to Canada. We need to do all we can to reunite him with his family.

Twenty weeks of agony. Ten years of imprisonment. This is the painful price of criticizing religious authorities in Saudi Arabia.

Sign this online petition to demand Saudi Arabia immediately release Raif Badawi and halt this abhorrent flogging.

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Egypt: Retrial of Al Jazeera journalists must pave way to their unconditional freedom

Amnesty International
Press Release
January 2, 2015

An Egyptian court’s call for a retrial of three jailed Al Jazeera journalists acknowledges major flaws in the original convictions but leaves the men in unjust incarceration, Amnesty International said today.

“By calling for a retrial the Egyptian courts are prolonging the injustice that Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed have faced,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

“These men should never have been jailed in the first place and should not have to spend one more day in prison. Instead of prolonging their unjust detention pending a retrial, they must be freed immediately.”

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Group 48 Holiday Potluck & Write-a-thon

Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s annual global letter writing marathon. Every December, Amnesty supporters write millions of messages for people whose basic human rights are under attack.

Date: Friday, December 12, 2014

Time: 7:30-9pm (set up starts at 7:00pm)

Location: Buchan Building at First Unitarian Church (church map)
1011 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR

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Algeria: 18-year-old Syrian Refugee Faces Deportation

Amnesty International
Urgent Action UA 269/14
28 October 2014

The Algerian authorities may be preparing to forcibly return an 18-year-old Syrian refugee after he entered the country without official legal documentation.

Moustafa Albakkor, 18, fled Syria in 2012 to escape the crisis that had begun in 2011 and entered Turkey where he was officially recognised as a refugee by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He travelled to Algeria in August 2014.

He was arrested on 18 August and detained in El-Oued Penal Institution, in the north-east of the country. He was tried on 12 October 2014, sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and fined 50,000 Dinars (US$600) for “entering the country with forged travel documents”. His appeal hearing is scheduled for 5 November. His family told Amnesty International they have been prevented from visiting him in prison for over two months.

He is now at risk of being forcibly returned to Syria, where he would face a real risk of human rights violations. Shortly after he was arrested, an official source told Moustafa Albakkor that the Syrian Embassy were in dialogue with the Algerian authorities regarding his deportation.

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Urgent Action – Syrian family at risk

Amnesty International
Urgent Action UA 258/14
14 October 2014

Parents and Six Children At Risk

A Syrian couple, Rania Alabbasi and her husband Abdulrahman Yasin, and their six children, now aged three to 15, have been subjected to enforced disappearance by the Syrian authorities. They were arrested in March 2013.

According to a relative who lives abroad, Military Intelligence officers came to Rania Alabbasi and her husband Abdulrahman Yasin’s house on 9 March 2013 and arrested Abdulrahman Yasin. They are not believed to have given any reason for arresting him. They returned the following day and confiscated items such as money, jewelry, papers and the family’s three cars.

They returned again on 11 March, this time to arrest Rania Alabbasi along with her six children. She has five daughters, Dima (aged 15), Entisar (aged 14), Najah (aged 11), Alaa (aged nine) and Layan (aged three) and one son, Ahmad (aged seven). Rania Alabbasi’s secretary, who was in the house when the security forces arrived, was also arrested.

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