In Saudi Arabia, Waleed Abu al-Khair is the lawyer that peaceful activists turn to when facing human rights abuses. Now, he needs representation from you.
A year ago Waleed, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee was jailed for 15 years under a terrorism law in Saudi Arabia. It’s clear that the authorities are punishing him for protecting and defending human rights.
Waleed has dedicated his life to defending human rights. He has provided legal representation to many activists, including Raif Badawi, the blogger jailed and sentenced to 1,000 lashes.
Saudi Arabia is about to execute Ali al-Nimr, a young man arrested in 2012 for taking part in a demonstration when he was just 17 years old. Amnesty International confirmed that Ali al-Nimr and two other young Shi’a activists were moved to solitary confinement in al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh on October 5.
Ali was allegedly tortured. He has claimed that he signed a confession under duress, and was denied the right to a lawyer when charges were first brought against him. His lawyer was not informed of court hearings. The signed “confession” is the only evidence against him.
In sentencing Ali, a juvenile offender, to death, Saudi Arabia has violated its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans capital punishment for people under 18.
June 7, 2015
The decision by the Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia to uphold the sentence of the blogger Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes is a dark day for freedom of expression in the Kingdom, Amnesty International said.
“It is abhorrent that this cruel and unjust sentence has been upheld. Blogging is not a crime and Raif Badawi is being punished merely for daring to exercise his right to freedom of expression,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
“By failing to overturn the sentence Saudi Arabian authorities today have displayed a callous disregard to justice and to the tens of thousands of voices around the world calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Now that his sentence is final and cannot be revoked, his public flogging might start as soon as Friday and he will unjustly serve the remaining of his sentence. The court’s decision casts a further stain on Saudi Arabia’s already bleak human rights record.”
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.