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Saudi Arabia

    April 24, 2016

    The sentencing of human rights activist Issa al-Hamid to nine years in prison and a travel ban of equal duration is the latest evidence of the Saudi Arabian authorities’ resolve to continue their ruthless onslaught against civil society in the Kingdom, said Amnesty International.

    Issa al-Hamid is a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), an independent human rights organization. The majority of its founding members are currently serving lengthy prison terms for their peaceful human rights activism and calls for reform.

    April 20, 2016

    As Saudi Arabia receives Barack Obama today, Amnesty International is urging the US President not to turn his back on victims of repression and human rights violations across the Gulf states.

    In an open letter published ahead of Obama’s meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on 20 April and with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on 21 April, the organization has called on President Obama to ensure human rights abuses are not swept beneath the carpet.

    “President Obama’s trip offers a crucial opportunity for him to demonstrate a principled commitment to human rights and prove to the world that the US government will not sacrifice human rights in favour of US geopolitical and business interests,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    March 25, 2016

      The sentencing of journalist Alaa Brinji to five years in prison, an eight-year travel ban and a fine of 50,000 Saudi Arabian riyals (about US$ 13,300) for a series of tweets, is a clear violation of international law and the latest demonstration of the Saudi Arabian authorities’ deep-seated intolerance of the right to peaceful expression, Amnesty International said today.

     He was found guilty on 24 March of a string of charges that included amongst other things, “insulting the rulers”, “inciting public opinion”, and “accusing security officers of killing protestors in Awamiyya” – an area of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

     “The sentencing of Alaa Brinji to a five year prison term is utterly shameful. He is the latest victim of Saudi Arabia’s ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent, where the aim appears to be to completely wipe out any and all voices of criticism, said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    March 11, 2016

    The families of three young men arrested for their involvement in anti-government protests while under the age of 18, fear their sons are among four people reported to be facing execution tomorrow, Amnesty International said today.

    The family of Ali al-Nimr expressed fears on social media that he, along with Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, is among the prisoners referred to in a government-run newspaper article published today. The article said the scheduled executions will complete a wave of punishments for terrorism offences that saw 47 people executed on the same day in January.

    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.

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