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Saudi Arabia

    April 02, 2013

    A ruling reportedly issued by a court in Saudi Arabia sentencing a man to paralysis as retribution for a crime he allegedly committed 10 years ago, is outrageous and should on no account be carried out, Amnesty International said today.

    Recent reports in Saudi Arabian media have brought to light the case of 24-year-old Ali al-Khawahir, who was reportedly sentenced to qisas (retribution) in the town of Al-Ahsa and could be paralysed from the waist down unless he pays one million Saudi riyals --US$ 270,000 -- in compensation to the victim.

    Ali al-Khawahir had allegedly stabbed his friend in the back, rendering him paralysed from the waist down in or around 2003. Ali al-Khawahir was 14 years’ old at the time.  

    “Paralysing someone as punishment for a crime would be torture,” said Ann Harrison, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “That such a punishment might be implemented is utterly shocking, even in a context where flogging is frequently imposed as a punishment for some offences, as happens in Saudi Arabia.”

    March 13, 2013

    The execution of seven men in Saudi Arabia after allegedly being forced to “confess” to charges of armed robbery is nothing but an act of sheer brutality, Amnesty International said today.

    The men were shot by a firing squad this morning in the city of Abha, in the south of the country.

    “We are outraged by the execution of seven men in Saudi Arabia this morning. We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, but this case has been particularly shocking,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    The seven men were arrested in 2005 and 2006 on charges of armed robbery.

    All of them reported that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated while held in custody and forced to “confess” to the alleged crime. They also claimed their relatives were threatened with torture if they withdrew their “confessions”.

    “It is a bloody day when a government executes seven people on the grounds of ‘confessions’ obtained under torture, submitted at a trial where they had no legal representation or recourse to appeal,” said Luther.

    March 12, 2013

    Seven men who hit the headlines last week when it emerged that one of them faced “crucifixion” following execution in Saudi Arabia, look set to be shot on Wednesday morning, prompting Amnesty International to call for a halt to what would be nothing more than an act of “sheer brutality.”

    Those close to the men report that seven mounds of earth have appeared in a public square in Abha, the city in which they are detained, signalling what people believe is their imminent execution.

    “Executing these men would be an act of sheer brutality - it must be stopped immediately. All seven should be granted a new trial and torture allegations must be investigated,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    The seven men were arrested in 2005 and 2006 on charges of armed robbery.

    All of them reported that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated while held in custody and forced to “confess” to the alleged crime. They also claimed their relatives were threatened with torture if they withdrew their “confessions”.

    March 11, 2013

    Saudi Arabia punishes two activists for voicing opinion.The sentencing of two human rights activists to five and 10 years’ imprisonment in Saudi Arabia is yet another stain on the country’s record when it comes to attacking free expression, Amnesty International said today as it named the activists “prisoners of conscience”.

    Dr Abdullah bin Hamid bin Ali al-Hamid, 66, and Mohammad bin Fahad bin Muflih al-Qahtani, 47, co-founders of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), a human rights organization that helps many families of detainees held without charge or trial, were sentenced to five and 10 years in prison respectively.

    Travel bans equal in length to their terms of imprisonment will also be applied to them after they finish serving their prison sentences.

    The court also ordered the disbanding of the organization, confiscation of its property and the shutting down of its social media accounts.

    March 05, 2013

    Plans to execute, next week, seven men convicted after being allegedly tortured into “confessing” to an armed robbery and then crucify the body of one of them confirm Saudi Arabia’s fundamentally flawed approach to law and order, Amnesty International said today.

    The men, including two who may have been juveniles at the time of the alleged crime, were convicted in 2009 after a short trial that used “confessions” allegedly extracted under torture as evidence against them. The men were not allowed legal representation and were denied the right to appeal the sentence.

    “Saudi Arabia’s legal system is fundamentally flawed. The fact that someone can be executed after, it seems, being tortured to ‘confess’ to a crime and as a result of a trial where no defence was allowed is, simply, illegal,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The execution of these men must be immediately stopped. They should be granted a new trial and the torture allegations must be investigated.”

    March 01, 2013

    Hundreds of people detained in Saudi Arabia in the wake of a protest against the incarceration without charge or trial of their relatives must be immediately and unconditionally released, Amnesty International said today.

    At least 176 men and women were arrested in the early hours of this morning after staging a peaceful protest outside the Bureau for Investigation and Public Prosecution in Buraida, a city north of the capital Riyadh, in Qassim province.

    They were calling for the release of more than 50 women and children, themselves detained since 27 February for their participation in another peaceful demonstration complaining about the incarceration of their relatives.

    According to reports, those arrested this morning have been transferred to a prison in Tarfiyah, east of Buraida, while those detained since 27 February continue to be held at the central prison in Buraida. No one has had access to the outside world.

    “This cat and mouse game authorities in Saudi Arabia are playing is, simply, outrageous,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    January 24, 2013

    A former Saudi Arabian diplomat who was due to be deported from Qatar to his native country was able to travel to Morocco after receiving support from Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International said.

    Mishal bin Zaar Hamad al-Mutiry, aged 50, and his family are now in Morocco after leaving the Gulf country on 18 January.

    The Qatari authorities halted his deportation to Saudi Arabia after pressure, including from Amnesty International, and efforts by Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), which intervened to help pay the al-Mutiry family’s travel expenses to Morocco.

    “The spotlight shone on this case resulted in the Qatari authorities curtailing their plans to deport Mishal al-Mutiry long enough for him and his family to leave of their own accord, and the assistance of the NHRC was crucial to ensuring they could travel,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “Given that Mishal al-Mutiry faced a real risk of torture in Saudi Arabia, it is a huge relief that the authorities did not end up forcing him to return there.”

    January 15, 2013

    Six jailed reformists in Saudi Arabia must be released immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International reiterated after they and 10 others convicted with them were offered a royal “pardon” on the condition they sign pledges renouncing their public activism.

    On Saturday, activists, including a lawyer for one of the reformists, circulated information about the pardon for the 16 men, who had been found guilty in November 2011 on a range of serious charges related to their peaceful human rights activism.

    Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry has reportedly told the 16 men that for the pardon to be carried out, they must first sign pledges to not repeat their offences or engage in public activism, and to thank the King.

    “Placing such ludicrous conditions on a pardon defeats the very purpose of issuing one in the first place,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    January 09, 2013

    Today’s beheading of a Sri Lankan domestic worker in Saudi Arabia for a crime she allegedly committed while still a child shows once more that the Gulf kingdom is woefully out of step with international standards on the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

    Rizana Nafeek was executed in Dawadmi, a town west of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, on Wednesday morning. Her death sentence had been handed down by a Dawadmi court on 16 June 2007, based on allegations that she murdered an infant in her care when she herself was 17 years old.

    Earlier this week Amnesty International and the Sri Lankan government had urged Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – who ratified her death sentence – to show clemency in her case, given her young age at the time of the alleged crime as well as concerns she had received an unfair trial.

    January 08, 2013

    A young Sri Lankan woman is at imminent risk of execution in Saudi Arabia for a crime she allegedly committed whilst under the age of 18, prompting Amnesty International to urge the country’s King to prevent the sentence being carried out.

    Rizana Nafeek, a domestic worker, has been held at Saudi Arabia’s Dawadami Prison since 2005 on charges of murdering an infant in her care. She says she was 17 at the time.

    “It would be outrageous if Rizana Nafeek were to be executed for this. It appears that she was herself a child at the time and there are real concerns about the fairness of her trial,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.

    As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Saudi Arabia is prohibited from imposing the death penalty on persons who were under 18 years old at the time of the offence for which they were convicted.

    On 16 June 2007, Nafeek was sentenced to death by a court in Dawadmi, a town west of the capital Riyadh.

     

    In June 2012, Raif Badawi was sentenced 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals (about $290,000 CDN) for setting up a website. Since then over 1 million people around the world have been part of a phenomenal groundswell of action. This outpouring of international pressure appears to have put the flogging on hold following the first 50 lashes in January 2015, yet the full sentence remains in place. Raif faces not just another five years in prison, but also the ongoing ordeal of wondering whether the flogging will resume. 

    The photos above display how embassies around the world have been bombarded with urgent pleas to release Raif, and Amnesty International activists have spread the word on the internet and taken the message to the streets in Ottawa, Montreal, Oslo, London, Rome… 

    Join us as we continue to protest the flogging and imprisonment of Raif Badawi and all prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia! 

    Every Friday Raif Badawi is at risk of public flogging after prayers in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. This protest also marks the anniversary of his arrest on June 17th, 2012 and another Father’s Day where he will be separated from his children. 

    Raif Badawi and dozens of other activists and human rights defenders have been imprisoned and are at risk of cruel punishment in Saudi Arabia. Their imprisonment and ill-treatment reflect broader human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, including extensive executions and war crimes in Yemen. 

    Together, we will call on Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi and all prisoners of conscience and to respect human rights. 

    If you can't join us please sign the petition spr.ly/6012x3oj and invite others!

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