Stop imminent execution of Saudi activist

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Take action for Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for her religion

On May 15th, while eight-months pregnant, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death after refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for “adultery” because she is married to a Christian man.

Meriam is being held in a prison in Khartoum, Sudan, along with her young son, Martin, and newborn daughter, Maya. Her lawyer says she has been shackled with heavy chains, even during labor.

Amnesty International considers Meriam a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of her beliefs.

The court charged Meriam, who has a Muslim father, with adultery under a law that prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men. When Meriam explained that she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, she was charged with abandoning her Muslim faith and sentenced to death.

It is unclear when her execution will take place. Sudan’s Criminal Code requires that pregnant women sentenced to death must be kept alive to give birth and nurse for two years before being executed.

Let’s tell the Sudanese authorities to release Meriam now.

Protect the Girls of Chibok

It’s been two weeks since hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by an armed group that has terrorized northeastern Nigeria. There have been reports that some of the girls may have already been sold into sexual slavery, or will soon be sold into forced “marriage.”

The Nigerian government has yet to take effective action. It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

Boko Haram, the Islamist armed group claiming responsibility for the kidnappings, opposes any form of western education. Boko Haram members reportedly descended on the school and loaded the terrified girls onto trucks in the dead of night. They drove away unhindered.

Continue reading

528 men sentenced to death in Egypt

An Egyptian court has shocked the world by issuing a mass death sentence to 528 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for their alleged role in a riot last July that turned violent.

This is the largest number of death sentences handed down in one case Amnesty International has seen in recent years. This is not justice. It’s the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and it could be an attempt to wipe out political opposition.

In a trial that “defied plausibility,” 528 men were convicted in just two sessions. More than 400 of those convicted were tried in absentia. No witnesses. No review of evidence. No time for the defense to read 3,000 pages of case documents. On the second day of trial, defense lawyers were blocked from the court!

Continue reading