Friday, January 9, 2015

AMNESTY: Saudi Authorities Must Stop Horrific Public Flogging of Blogger


Raif Badawi

Imprisonment and 1,000 Lashes For a Website

In May 2014, Raif Badawi was jailed for 10 years. His sentence also included 1,000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban, and a lifetime ban from appearing on media outlets once he is released.

What was Raif's so-called crime? Violating Saudi Arabia's information technology law and insulting Islam through the creation of 'Saudi Arabian Liberals,' a website meant for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia. He is a Prisoner of Conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of his beliefs.

The charges against Raif are related to articles he wrote criticizing religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, and pieces penned by others that Raif published on the Saudi Arabian Liberals' site. The prosecution had called for him to be tried for 'apostasy' or abandoning his religion, which carries the death penalty.

Raif is one of many activists in Saudi Arabia persecuted for openly expressing their views online. Facebook and Twitter are incredibly popular in a country where people can't openly voice their opinions in public. The authorities have responded to this increase in online debate by monitoring social media sites and even trying to ban applications such as Skype and WhatsApp, further stifling free expression.

Saudi Arabian authorities plan to publicly flog Raif Badawi after Friday prayers on January 9. Raif is a Prisoner of Conscience, imprisoned and brutally punished for peacefully exercising his right to free expression.

What is Raif's so-called crime? Violating Saudi Arabia's information technology law and insulting Islam through the creation of 'Saudi Arabian Liberals,' a website meant for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia. Raif was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, 1,000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban, and a lifetime ban from appearing on media outlets – all in connection with articles he wrote criticizing religious authorities in Saudi Arabia. The prosecution had called for him to be tried for 'apostasy' or abandoning his religion, which carries the death penalty.

According to the final court decision, Raif Badawi will be flogged no more than 50 times each time he is publicly punished, with each public flogging scheduled no more than a week apart. This Friday will just be the beginning of Raif’s brutal punishment. Flogging violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in international law. Act now, and demand that Raif not be subjected to such reprehensible treatment at the hands of the Saudi authorities.


PLEASE HELP

Your Message

Message Recipients: His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz AlSaud, King of Saudi Arabia

Subject: Stop the horrific public flogging of blogger, Raif Badawi

I am writing to ask that you act urgently to put a stop to the flogging of Saudi blogger and Prisoner of Conscience Raif Badawi. I am appalled by the news that he will be publicly flogged in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah after Friday. I call on you to quash Raif Badawi’s flogging sentence without further delay, as it is a violation of the prohibition on torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under international law.

I believe that Raif Badawi is a Prisoner of Conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. I urge you to drop all charges against Badawi and ensure  that he is unconditionally released without further delay.

I am deeply concerned about the number of activists in Saudi Arabia persecuted for openly expressing their views online.  I call on you to stop arresting, charging, prosecuting and sentencing activists for simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


https://www.e-activist.com/ea-campaign/action.retrievefile.do?ea_fileid=40969