Rally for Raif Badawi on Parliament Hill followed by protest at Saudi Arabian Embassy in Ottawa Thursday 29 January
Human rights activists from Sherbrooke, Montreal and Ottawa will be holding a rally on Parliament Hill on Thursday 29 January 2015 at 2 p.m. calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene directly with Saudi Arabian authorities to stop the flogging of Raif Badawi set to resume on Friday 30 January, and press for him to be unconditionally freed from prison.
Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up the Saudi Arabian Liberals website, will be flogged for a second time. Amnesty International believes Raif Badawi is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression. His wife Ensaf Haider and their three children have found refuge in Canada living in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Canada and several other governments condemned the flogging of Raif Badawi. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has issued a “call for clemency” by the Saudi Arabian authorities noting the punishment is a “violation of human dignity” and he has raised the case with Saudi Arabian officials. Sustained action is needed. Representations must be made by Prime Minister Harper to stop the torture and secure the freedom of Raif Badawi.
Ensaf Haider, Raif Badawi’s wife, Alex Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, English branch and Béatrice Vaugrante, Directrice Générale of Amnistie internationale Canada francophone will address the rally about the importance of Prime Minister Harper’s direct intervention and other concerns about this case.*
The rally on Parliament Hill will be followed by a protest at the Saudi Arabian Embassy, 201 Sussex Drive at 3 p.m. Thursday 29 January. Petitions signed by more than 100,000 Canadians will be presented at the Embassy. They call on Saudi Arabia to drop all charges against Raif Badawi, and release him without delay or conditions on his freedom. And until Badawi is free the authorities must ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, including his sentence of flogging.
* They will join MPs at a press conference in the National Press Theatre earlier on Thursday 29 January at 11:30 a.m. calling for the release of Raif Badawi.
For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
(613)744-7667 #236 firstname.lastname@example.org