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Saudi Arabia

    February 12, 2016

    By Nassra al-Ahmed

    Ali al-Nimr was just 17 when he was arrested on 14 February 2012, a few months after taking part in anti-government rallies in Saudi Arabia. He was sentenced to death, despite being a minor when he was arrested and following a deeply unfair trial based on “confessions” he says were obtained through torture. He now awaits his execution. His mother, Nassra al-Ahmed, tells their story.

    When I first heard the verdict to execute my little boy, I felt as if a thunderbolt was hitting my head. It rendered me bereaved and rid of the most cherished and beautiful things I have.

    His absence has exhausted my heart. My eyes shed tears automatically, yearning for him. I am overtaken by missing his angelic features. His smile never leaves my mind and memories prompt me to weep each time I see one of his pictures. 

    February 02, 2016

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeveAmnesty

    There has been considerable debate recently about the revelations that Ottawa’s Algonquin College (as well as Niagara College in Welland) has reached a lucrative deal to operate a campus in Saudi Arabia that will offer courses to men only.

    It puts a third story about Canadian connections to human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia on the public record. That unenviable statistic is, sadly, not at all surprising. Amnesty International released a briefing paper this month in which we documented a sharp deterioration in respect for human rights in Saudi Arabia over the past year, including a serious clampdown on free expression and deeply troubling findings that Saudi forces that have intervened in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen have been responsible for extensive violations, including war crimes.

    January 12, 2016

    The arrest of Samar Badawi, a prominent human rights defender, is the latest example of Saudi Arabia’s utter contempt for its human rights obligations and provides further damning proof of the authorities’ intent to suppress all signs of peaceful dissent, said Amnesty International.

    Read Samar Badawi's blog:  "My Husband is in Prison for Supporting Human Rights in Saudi Arabia"

    January 08, 2016

    Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi was released from custody on January 13. But her arrest provides further damning proof of the Saudi authorities’ intent to suppress all signs of peaceful dissen. One year after Raif Badawi was publicly flogged, he and many other activists across Saudi Arabia urgently need your support.

     

    by Ella Knight, Amnesty International

    A year after the international outcry over his public flogging, Raif Badawi and dozens of activists remain in prison and at risk of cruel punishments in Saudi Arabia. More and more are being sentenced under a harsh counter-terrorism law, while Saudi Arabia’s allies shamelessly back the Kingdom’s repression in the name of the so-called ‘war on terror’. Join the fight back today – here are six ways you can demand action from Saudi Arabia.
     

    January 07, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs  8 January 2016

    The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia has steadily deteriorated over the year since blogger Raif Badawi was publicly flogged for exercising his right to free expression, said Amnesty International the day before the first anniversary of the flogging.

    The past year has seen the Kingdom’s human rights record go from bad to worse. Most recently the mass execution of 47 people in a single day, including Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, sent shockwaves across the region.

    Despite the much hailed participation of women in municipal elections last month, Saudi Arabia continued its sweeping crackdown on human rights activists and led a devastating air bombardment campaign in Yemen that saw the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.

    January 02, 2016
    Members of the Shia Muslim community of Greece hold up placards and banners that show images of prominent Shiite cleric and activist Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration near Saudi Arabia's embassy in Athens on January 6, 2016, to condemn Nimr's execution by Saudi authorities. Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Image

     

    Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated their utter disregard for human rights and life by executing 47 people in a single day, said Amnesty International today.

    Those put to death earlier today included prominent Shi’a Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was convicted after a political and grossly unfair trial at the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC). With the exception of the Sheikh and three Shi’a Muslim activists, the others were convicted of involvement with al-Qa’ida.

    December 16, 2015

    Released Wednesday 16 December at 12.00 GMT+1

    (Brussels 16 December 2015) Today’s awarding of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Raif Badawi by the European Parliament (EP) shines a clear light on the extent to which the Saudi Arabian authorities have gone to silence bloggers, activists and human rights defenders, including the use of cruel and inhumane punishments, said Amnesty International.

    However, the EP’s move stands in stark contrast to the deafening silence of the European Union’s (EU) diplomatic corps, who to date have not only failed to respond to the human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, but have yet to call for Raif Badawi’s immediate and unconditional release. Many EU member states have equally cowered from condemning the Saudi Arabian authorities’ blatant disregard for human rights and international law, both within Saudi Arabia and abroad.

    November 26, 2015

    More than 50 people are at increased risk of imminent execution following reports in national media outlets close to the Saudi Arabian authorities that they will soon be put to death in a single day, warns Amnesty International.

    The mothers of five Shi’a Muslim activists who are among the prisoners have implored King Salman for clemency, after learning that preparations potentially associated with impending executions have taken place.

    “Saudi Arabia’s macabre spike in executions this year, coupled with the secretive and arbitrary nature of court decisions and executions in the kingdom, leave us no option but to take these latest warning signs very seriously,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “These executions must not go ahead and Saudi Arabia must lift the veil of secrecy around its death penalty cases, as part of a fundamental overhaul of its criminal justice system.”

    November 23, 2015

    A UN Working Group has determined that the Saudi Arabian authorities have arbitrarily detained nine peaceful activists in blatant violation of international law, in an Opinion that sets out damning evidence of Saudi Arabia’s utter disregard for human rights, said Amnesty International today.

    Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional release of all nine activists, whom it considers prisoners of conscience. They include six founding members of a key human rights organization, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), as well as the imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, his lawyer and human rights defender Waleed Abu al-Khair, and Fadhel al-Manasif of the now disbanded Adala Center for Human Rights.

    “The UN Working Group’s Opinion leaves no shred of doubt - the Saudi Arabian authorities are consistently abusing the country’s vague laws to deprive human rights defenders and others of their liberty, and deny them their basic right to freedoms of expression, association and assembly,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    November 10, 2015
    DOWNLOAD PDF HERE.

     

    Waleed Abu al-Khair is a human rights lawyer. His job is to help keep people out of jail—good people who are doing peaceful things to make Saudi Arabia a better place. 

    Since 2012, Saudi Arabia has sent people to jail for a very long time because they have peacefully promoted human rights. For example, they have promoted things like the right to freedom of expression—to say what you want to say and to be who you want to be. 

    One of these good people is Waleed’s brother-in-law. His name is Raif Badawi. Raif is in jail because he wrote about things like politics and religion and posted them to a website. The government decided that his punishment would be 1,000 lashes. 

    November 09, 2015

    At least 151 people have been put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year –the highest recorded figure since 1995 – in an unprecedented wave of executions marking a grim new milestone in the Saudi Arabian authorities’ use of the death penalty, said Amnesty International.

    So far in 2015, on average, one person has been executed every other day. Annual execution tolls for Saudi Arabia in recent years have rarely exceeded 90 for the entire year. The latest execution took place on 9 November.

    “The Saudi Arabian authorities appear intent on continuing a bloody execution spree which has seen at least 151 people put to death so far this year - an average of one person every two days,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    According to Amnesty International’s records, the last time Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 people in a single year was in 1995, when 192 executions were recorded. In 2014 the total number of executions carried out was 90 – meaning that so far there has been a 68% increase in executions over the whole of last year.

    November 06, 2015

     

    By Stephanie Tran – Youth Intern, Amnesty International

     

    Over 30 000. That’s the number of cards of solidarity written for Raif Badawi with urgent calls for his freedom. Written by supporters from around the world, sentiments of solidarity came from around 20 countries altogether. Along with Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife, we brought 17 boxes filled with these cards to the Saudi Arabian Embassy. They refused to accept any of them.

    “What does the Saudi Embassy fear by refusing them?,” asked Director General of Amnesty Canada’s Francophone Branch, Beatrice Vaugrante. “It is disappointing but it will in no way lessen our determination to campaign for Raif.”

    October 19, 2015

    The Saudi Arabian authorities today continued their cynical use of a repressive and overly vague counter-terrorism law to purge the Kingdom’s small and embattled civil society by convicting the human rights defender Abdulkareem al-Khoder and imprisoning him for 10 years, Amnesty International said.

    Abdulkareem al-Khoder, a co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was jailed in June 2013 for eight years after a trial before a criminal court. His sentence was overturned last year but he remained arbitrarily detained in prison. His latest conviction was handed down by Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) under a counter-terrorism law that took effect in February 2014.

    “By using abusive counter-terrorism legislation and a deeply deficient specialized court to intimidate and lock up human rights defenders, Saudi Arabia is sending a chilling message that anyone who speaks out will be purged,” said James Lynch, Acting Deputy Program Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    October 16, 2015

    By Mohammed al-Nimr, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

    Every time I enter and leave my house through our garage, a bicycle in the corner catches my eye, shining brightly. 

    Looking at that bicycle brings back painful memories of my young son Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who has been sentenced to death and is facing imminent execution in my homeland, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    I remember Ali standing before me when I promised to buy him that bicycle if he passed sixth grade. I recall how happy he was when we went to buy it together. He was over the moon, just like any other young boy would be, to get his first bicycle.

    I remember how his elder brother taught him how to ride it, and how I would warn him to look both ways on the road and watch out for reckless drivers. What pain filled my heart every time he fell! I am his father after all.

    These scenes rush through my mind every time I walk in the streets of my beautiful home village, Awamiyya, and see children riding their bicycles. I always pray for God to protect them, but I cannot always hold back the tears.

    October 16, 2015

    There are rising fears about the impending executions of Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr and two other young Shi’a activists in Saudi Arabia who were arrested as juveniles after participating in anti-government rallies, Amnesty International said today after learning that they had been moved to solitary confinement.

    The organization has been able to confirm that Ali al-Nimr, Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher were moved to solitary confinement in al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh on 5 October. They were arrested at different times in 2012, when they were all under the age of 18, and sentenced to death in 2014. All three death sentences were upheld by Saudi Arabia’s appeal court and the Supreme Court earlier this year.

    Pro-government media reports that Ali al-Nimr could face crucifixion after his beheading have sparked a global outcry. On 14 October, his mother appealed to US President Barack Obama to step in to save her son.

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