Posts Tagged ‘ Saudi Arabia ’

CFI to Saudi Arabia: release Samar Badawi

Jan 12th, 2016 12:17 pm | By

CFI on the arrest of Samar Badawi:

The Center for Inquiry has learned that Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi has been arrested for allegedly operating the Twitter account of her husband, jailed human rights attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair. Ms. Badawi is also the sister of jailed dissident Raif Badawi, and Mr. al-Khair was Mr. Badawi’s lawyer before he himself was jailed.

The Center for Inquiry emphatically demands that Saudi Arabia immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Badawi, and drop any charges brought against her. Samar is a valued ally and friend of the Center for Inquiry. CFI has worked closely with her to promote freedom of thought and expression in Saudi Arabia, and to fight for the release of

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Samar Badawi won a courage award

Jan 12th, 2016 11:56 am | By

Via Michael De Dora: Samar Badawi in 2012, being given the International Women of Courage Award by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

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Samar Badawi

Jan 12th, 2016 8:51 am | By

Ensaf Haidar has a new piece of bad news.

Urgent: ‪#‎Samar_Badawi‬ was arrested on the charge of directing Waleed Abulkair’s twitter account. She was transferred to the Dhahran central prison, where both Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair are.

She’s Raif’s sister.

 … Read the rest

Beaten like slaves, treated like merchandise

Dec 21st, 2015 11:25 am | By

Jonah Cohen and Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe tell us what “justice” looks like for foreign domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

They start with the Sri Lankan woman whose sentence of beheading for having sex outside her marriage has been sent back for review.

But the public still doesn’t know her name, for whom she was working, what she testified in court, or who bore witness against her. Not her family, not even her “betrayed” husband, knows that she stands to be executed.

Why won’t her name be released? Officials involved with the case claim she doesn’t want her family to know how far she’s fallen, that she’d feel humiliated. But it’s hard to believe that the same court that would stone

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Spotlight on Saudi Arabia

Oct 22nd, 2015 12:03 pm | By

Adam Coogle, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, reminds us of some facts about Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record is getting media scrutiny, thanks in part to news that Saudi authorities plan to lash 74-year-old Karl Andree, a British cancer survivor, 350 times for possessing homemade alcohol. Flogging in the kingdom entails a series of strikes with a wooden cane, with blows distributed across the back and legs, normally not breaking the skin but leaving bruises.

In other words Saudi Arabia plans to commit a heinous crime in order to punish a 74-year-old cancer survivor for possessing some alcohol. Saudi Arabia is the criminal here, and by a wide margin. Hitting people with sticks is a … Read the rest

Better news

Sep 22nd, 2015 5:06 pm | By

Michael De Dora says the story about the Saudi guy’s role on a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council isn’t particularly worrying after all, and it also isn’t news.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the five members of the Consultative Group for the whole year, starting with the March 2015 session. In fact, the Saudi ambassador was chair of the Group for the June session, and the vice-chair for the March session, so it’s not red-hot news in September.

What the Consultative Group does is, it evaluates applications for independent experts (mostly called Special Rapporteurs), ranking the top three candidates for each vacant mandate and providing justification for their nominations. The President of the HRC … Read the rest

Why wouldn’t you call on the king to issue a royal pardon?

Jun 9th, 2015 7:32 am | By

Oh, do better, State Department. Come on.

Via Paul Fidalgo at The Morning Heresy – a passage from the daily press briefing at State.

QUESTION: Saudi Arabia.


QUESTION: Do you have any comment or reaction on the upholding by the supreme court of the blogger’s verdict and punishment by flogging?

MR RATHKE: We are deeply concerned that the Saudi supreme court has upheld the 10-year prison sentence and 1,000 lashes for human rights activist and blogger Raif Badawi for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion. As we had previously said back in January, the United States Government continues to call on Saudi authorities to cancel this brutal punishment and to review Badawi’s case

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Not too far into the future

May 20th, 2015 11:05 am | By

Raymond Johansen posted a translated transcript of an interview Ensaf Haidar did on NRK Debatt.

Dear Ensaf Haidar, here is your interview again and the following is a translation I hope do you justice. My arabic is limited so please do not feel offended. We tried our best. You are a strong woman and we wish you and your family the best of luck. You are right. Millions of people around the world stand right beside you and your husband Raif Badawi
Ensaf is asked if she knows how her husband is doing in prison at the moment

Ensaf: Raif’s situation is not good at this moment in time – healthwise or psychologically. His situation is not

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Do the right thing

Apr 3rd, 2015 12:54 pm | By

Ensaf Haidar asks Obama and Kerry to do what 60 members of Congress have done, and demand the immediate release of Raif Badawi.

When I am allowed to speak with Raif, I brief him about all that is being done on his behalf. Because of a global outcry by citizens and governments of the world, Raif has not been flogged for 11 consecutive weeks. But I know that as soon as the media spotlight fades and pressure on the repressive Saudi monarchy eases, Saudi Arabia may seek to do what it pleases with my husband. It is critical that the pressure not abate, not even for an instant.

More than a million people around the world have demanded that the

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

C’est normal

Apr 3rd, 2015 11:18 am | By

Saudi Arabia has tried to order Quebec to back off in its criticism of Saudi’s appalling human rights record. Quebec has said Nope.

The CBC has seen the letter:

Quebec’s premier is not backing down in his opposition to the imprisonment and torture of blogger Raif Badawi, despite the Saudi ambassador’s written caution to Quebec politicians to mind their own business.

“We have made our opinion known. It’s normal that we did so,” Philippe Couillard told reporters as he made his way to a cabinet meeting in Quebec City Wednesday.

Naif Bin Bandir Al-Sudairy, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Canada, sent a letter to Quebec’s National Assembly in March telling them not to meddle in the case of the jailed 

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Sometimes a notpology is a good outcome

Mar 28th, 2015 4:51 pm | By

A friend translated a piece in Svenska Dagbladet for me and gave me permission to share it with y’all. The translation is verbatim rather than idiomatic.

-The emissary has not presented a Swedish apology, but has presented that there was no intention to insult Saudi Arabia or Islam, the source says to (news agency) TT.

-It has been deplored from the Swedish side if what was said has been perceived as an insult.

According to Al Arabiya, the Swedish King is also to have underscored “the force of the relationship” between Sweden and Saudi Arabia to his Saudi colleague King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. Under which forms this message was presented is not known.

On Friday, the government’s emissary Björn

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Saudi Arabia is “a beacon of light”

Mar 24th, 2015 2:47 pm | By

Oh, that’s how you want to play it, Saudi Arabia? It might backfire. I certainly hope it does.

Adam Taylor at the Washington Post blog.

You know how Margot Wallström was going to give a talk at the Arab League, a talk that included some praise for the idea of women’s rights, and how Saudi Arabia blocked her from giving that talk and recalled its ambassador and generally threw a huge tantrum.

The feud has sparked an intense domestic debate, with Sweden’s king even stepping in. Part of this is because of the considerable economic pressure Saudi Arabia is able to put on Sweden (Sweden exported $1.3 billion to Saudi Arabia last year). But perhaps even more powerful has

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Your complete opposition to the human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia

Mar 21st, 2015 10:28 am | By

Here’s another thing we can sign – a call to political action to Free Raif and Waleed.

So far 12 MPs, 9 MSPs, and 4 members of the House of Lords have signed. Scores of prominent human rights activists, writers, lawyers and journalists have also signed as well as hundreds of others (see below). Please continue to add your name to this statement. Further action will be necessary.

Raif’s wife Ensaf Haidar has just written to us about this letter.
“I am very grateful for your action in support of my husband’s freedom– please help me get my husband back. His children need him”

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is currently imprisoned in a Saudi Arabian jail having received the

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Bumped up again

Mar 20th, 2015 10:12 am | By

There’s a report in Stern, in German, that Raif Badawi’s case has been sent by the Jeddah Criminal Court to the High Court. Elham Manea took it seriously enough to share with Ensaf Haidar, and Ensaf shared it with everyone.

That could be either good or bad; it’s unknown which.

But don’t worry – the OIC just told us that

Islam, which Saudi Arabia – a founding member of the OIC – is governed by, is centered on the values of justice, compassion, equality, tolerance and the notion of human vicegerency.

So obviously Saudi Arabia isn’t going to behead Raif for expressing an opinion about religion that the Saudi rulers don’t share. That wouldn’t be just or compassionate or … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

One assumes Saudi authorities will not arrange a visit

Mar 19th, 2015 2:05 pm | By

Michael De Dora spoke at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, on Saudi Arabia and the Istanbul Process.

The rights to freedom of religion, belief, and expression remain nearly non-existent in Saudi Arabia. On January 9, Raif Badawi, the creator of an online forum devoted to discussion on religion and politics, received the first 50 of 1,000 lashes in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. He now reportedly faces retrial for apostasy, for which the penalty is death. On January 12, his lawyer, human rights advocate Waleed abu al-Khair, had his own prison sentence extended to 15 years. Meanwhile, women’s rights activist Samar Badawi — wife to Waleed, sister to Raif — has been banned from

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

What upsets Saudi Arabia and the OIC

Mar 19th, 2015 11:22 am | By

Let’s look at that OIC statement on Margot Wallström’s remarks about Saudi Arabia.

First, you’ll want to refresh your memory of her talk. (The article is in Swedish but the talk is in English, just scroll down.) Here are the horrific three paragraphs that have Saudi Arabia and the whole OIC so distraught and furious:

Human rights are a priority in Swedish foreign policy. Freedom of association, assembly, religion and expression are not only fundamental rights and important tools in the creation of vibrant societies. They are indispensable in the fight against extremism and radicalisation. So is a vibrant civil society.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. This is a day to celebrate women’s achievements, recognise challenges, and focus

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Its rich and varied ethical standards

Mar 19th, 2015 11:03 am | By

Saudi Arabia is very annoyed with Sweden. How dare Sweden. Sweden has one hell of a nerve.

Saudi Arabia said on 19 March 2015 it will not issue any new visas for Swedish business people, in retaliation for comments made by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström.

Diplomatic ties between both countries have been severed since Sweden accused Saudi Arabia of blocking Wallström from speaking at an Arab League meeting earlier this month. However, her cancelled remarks were published by the Swedish foreign ministry. While they did not mention Saudi Arabia, Wallström’s statement stressed women and human rights.

Well! Did you ever!? No wonder Saudi Arabia is angry. Women and human rights; have you ever heard anything so filthy … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Going for a new record

Mar 16th, 2015 3:22 pm | By

Saudi Arabia is working hard at being more horrible this year than it was last year. Every day in every way it gets worser and worser. The Telegraph reports via AFP:

A man convicted of murder was beheaded in the Saudi capital on Monday, amid a steep rise in the number of executions in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom this year.

The beheading of Saad bin Abdullah al-Jadid, who had shot dead fellow Saudi Abdullah bin Faraj al-Gahtani, took to 45 the number of executions since January 1, according to an AFP count.

I’m an American, so I have nothing to boast of. We execute lots of people too, and sometimes we fry them for an extended period before we … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Mar 12th, 2015 10:56 am | By

Sweden has published online the address that Foreign Minister Margot Wallström planned to give in Cairo on Monday.

This is the part – the only part – where she touches on human rights and women’s rights, in a way that Saudi Arabia calls “offensive” and “blatant interference in its internal affairs.

I include the first three paragraphs only so that you can see what led up to the human rights and women’s rights part.


Democracy, security and economic development are interrelated. Without progress in one of these fields, sustainable results in the other cannot be expected.

Inclusive socio-economic development is particularly important. Educational and economic empowerment is the best antidote to radicalisation and terrorist recruitment.

Employment is crucial,

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Adjö Saudi Arabia

Mar 12th, 2015 10:09 am | By

Sweden has actually dropped an arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

The Swedish government this week decided to scrap an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, effectively bringing to an end a decade-old defence agreement with the kingdom. The move followed complaints made by the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom that she was blocked by the Saudis from speaking about democracy and women’s rights at a gathering of the Arab League in Cairo.

Tensions between Stockholm and Riyadh have grown so acute that Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Sweden on Wednesday. The Swedish foreign ministry had published Wallstrom’s planned remarks in Cairo, which made no specific reference to Saudi Arabia but did urge reform on issues of women’s rights. Nevertheless,

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)