Friday, November 1, 2013

Quash the sentence, Drop the charges; Reform or Perish…

Updated on 26, August 2014

In Arabia, a lawyer who is a defender of human rights activism has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. After the term, he will be under a ban for an additional 15 years from travelling outside the kingdom. He has also been slapped with a 200,000 riyal ($53,300) fine. His website is deemed illegal as also his association unauthorized.

By upholding human rights of citizens, the Saudi court considers that this defender of human rights has broken allegiance to King Abdulla, was not respecting authorities and hence was encouraging rebellion against the government. Samar Badawi, the lawyer's wife has underscored the principled stand of this democrat by reiterating his views - the court itself is illegitimate, he refuses to accept the verdict of such a court and there is no question of an appeal. Punishing a lawyer for defending human rights of citizens has invited contempt of all human rights activists worldwide. The civilized world is astonished at the deplorable high-handedness of this wealthy nation. All freedom loving individuals are requested to protest against this heinous crime against dignity, justice and fair play.

 You are requested to sign a petition asking to free him unconditionally.


                               The Petition

Equally heinous and abhorrent is the punishment meted out to Fadhil Makki al-Manasif (27). He was arrested in Awammiyah on April 15, 2009 and detained at General Prison, Dammam without assigning charges for three months. He had to sign a pledge not to take part in gatherings for getting released. In May 2011, he was again arrested and taken in to custody by the security forces. On June 4, 2011, he was transferred to solitary confinement. On June 6, he was charged with crimes relating to his 2009 arrest. Prosecutors were of the opinion that he was sowing discord, inciting public opinion against the state, damaging public property by organizing and calling fr protests, giving information to international media about demonstrations, gathering information about demonstrations etc. Again he had to sign a declaration to the effect that he would refrain from participating in demonstrations.

Fadhil is a photographer and an activist of Adala Centre (for Human Rights) and as such had documented abuses against demonstrators in the Eastern Province. As an activist, he conducted educational workshops on human rights in Qatif. He enthusiastically took the responsibility of approaching the authorities on behalf of the families of the missing detainees. This is normally involved in the work of a human rights activist.

On October 2, 2011 he was again arrested and transferred to the Mabahith prison in Dammam. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was tortured while in detention.

On April 17, 2014 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Saudi Riyals. There will also be a travel ban for 15 years after the prison term. The charges against him are actually a consequence of his being a human rights activist. The Specialized Criminal Court considers that he has broken allegiance with the king and has been in contact with foreign news agencies with a view to exaggerate news and bringing bad name to the Kingdom and its people.

The attitude of the kingdom to human rights activists and the punishment meted out to Fadhil and the fact that he had to undergo torture in detention all show the disgusting state of affairs regarding the judicial system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

You are requested to sign a petition to free Fadhil Makki al-Manasif.


                       The Petition

To know a regime that fears its countrymen: 


Original post :

“……………………yet another sign of the arbitrary nature of Saudi Arabia’s justice system”: Hassiba hadj Sahraoui

Waleed Abu al Khair is a lawyer. He supports the reform initiatives getting stronger day by day in Saudi Arabia. He is known as a Human Rights Lawyer. He was accused of unlawful gathering and released on bail previously. In 2011 he had signed petitions demanding political reform. In the absolute monarchy of Arabia which is an anachronism in the 21st century, such initiatives are considered crimes. The Salafi clergy believes that they are maintaining Shariah laws. Even though the highest authority in the kingdom is not characterized as Caliph (Khaleefa) , the nexus between the clergy and the king’s family provides the administrative-cum-legal background for all sorts of human rights abuses. Even the western educated governors express astonishment at the way the entire modern world criticizes them: “ we are following our religion, why don’t they understand that”  is their basic attitude. Some Islamists and many modernist apologists remind us that theirs is not the real Islam. As if a seventh century ideology the greatness of which can be in the dreams and desires of  Muslims only could be the political philosophy of our day! In short, Waleed Abu al Khair is committing crimes legally and spiritually. The youth and students taught in the Saudi curriculum are quite innocent of the ideological implications of modernism. The latest fatwa (as of November 1st,2013)  by a Sheik from the kingdom  warns the citizens against travelling to Mars even though 477 have applied for the ‘The Mars One’ mission  already!

 The advocates for reform are actually confronted by a tremendous task before them.

Quoting his wife Samar Badawi, Amnesty International says that in June 2012,  he was accused of disrespecting the judicial system , contacting foreign organizations and supporting the human rights of detainees alleged to have terror links. He had also been banned from travelling to the United States. To crown all his crimes, he has created a Facebook group, ‘Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi’!

The Jeddah criminal court has sentenced to imprison him for three months for the crime of signing the petition criticizing authorities two years ago. The criticism was against the harsh punishments in the case of 16 activists arrested in 2011. Alalam reports that ‘he would remain out of jail pending an appeal of the present sentence’. He has to his credit another trial relating to his activism.

Hassiba hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International, has denounced the verdict: “This trial is a yet another example of how the authorities abuse the justice system to silence peaceful dissent in Saudi Arabia”.

Amnesty International quotes his courageous and determined stand: “Currently in Saudi Arabia we are going through a critical phase for human rights defenders. Because the calls for reform have increased, an intensive campaign was launched to silence human rights defenders and to control public opinion.”
"I have no choice but to withstand the force of this storm out of respect for all the activists who preceded me and the principles we believe in. My only choice is to remain steadfast and to endure it.”


         11-1-2013,   AINA  

                                                                                                                                                                                Post Script            
    1. Court to review Badawi case

    2.  Amnesty again asks to release detained activists                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 Added Later: Please Watch this video           

     For more on Human Rights activism in Saudi Arabia:  



                Help Saudi Arabian Enlightenment II

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