Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: Raif Badawi facing 1000 lashes in public for his human rights works
The Saudi Minister of the Interior is on the brink of giving the order to start lashing human rights defender Raif Badawi, according to information received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). On 1 September 2014, the Court of Appeal in Jeddah upheld Badawi’s harsh sentence of 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban to start on expiration of his jail sentence, a ban on using media outlets and a fine of one million Saudi Riyals (about US$266,600). He was sentenced on 7 May 2014 after being detained for almost two years.
Reliable sources informed the GCHR that Badawi will soon begin to receive the 1000 lashes over 20 weeks in public outside Al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah during 20 sessions of 50 lashes each.
Badawi is co-founder and editor of the website Liberal Saudi Network, an on-line forum created to foster political and social debate in Saudi Arabia. He has been detained since 17 June 2012 in a prison in Briman in Jeddah. His sentence stemmed from the creation of the website and his calls for reforms in the Kingdom (for further information see previous GCHR appeal http://gc4hr.org/news/view/728).
The GCHR deplores in the strongest terms the lashing of Raif Badawi by Saudi authorities and expresses its firm belief that the Saudi government is trying hard to send a message of terror and intimidation to all human rights defenders in the country in addition to its systematic targeting of those who express opinions which the Kingdom finds objectionable.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Saudi Arabia to:
1. Immediately halt the lashing of human rights defender Raif Badawi;
2. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Raif Badawi;
3. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Raif Badawi;
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in KSA are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c) which states that: Everyone has the right, individually and i association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters and to Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
Please write immediately in English or in Arabic:
1. To express your concern about the imprisonment of human rights defender Raif Badawi and to call for his immediate release;
2. To urge the authorities in Saudi Arabia to immediately stop the targeting of human rights defenders.
Please send appeals to:
Minister of the Interior
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Ben Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Ministry of the Interior,
P.O. Box 2933, Airport Road, Riyadh 11134
Fax: +966 1 403 3125