Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Saudi Arabia: Release Waleed Abu al-Khair
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.
Waleed is Raif’s lawyer. But Waleed isn’t able to stand up for people like Raif anymore because he is now in prison himself. In July 2014, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. This is Saudi Arabia’s way of keeping him silent. The government wants to keep him from doing great work to help keep peaceful activists out of jail.
Before being sent to prison, Waleed spent years being harassed, threatened, and arrested by his government because of the work he was doing.
Waleed was found guilty of insulting the court, disobeying the King, and damaging Saudi Arabia’s reputation. To receive a shorter sentence, Waleed could have apologized to the judge for committing these ‘offences’. But he knew he had done nothing wrong and had nothing to apologize for.
Waleed suffers in prison. He has a serious disease called diabetes. He has been beaten, kept from sleeping, and put in a cell all on his own with no contact with other people. He has been regularly moved from one jail to another. This makes it difficult for his wife and child to visit him.
Waleed is a prisoner of conscience, someone put in jail because of their beliefs. The authorities should drop all charges against him and release him from jail right away. He should be reunited with his family.
Fifteen years is a long time to be in jail. We need to let Waleed know that he is not forgotten, and we need to call on Saudi Arabia to release Waleed now!
Please write a letter to the King of Saudi Arabia.
1. Start your letter with ‘Your Majesty.’
2. In the first sentence, share something about yourself to make your letter different from all the others he will receive.
3. Let him know that you are concerned that Waleed Abu al-Khair is in prison for 15 years.
4. Ask the king to let Waleed Abu al-Khair out of jail right away because he has done nothing wrong.
WHERE DO I SEND MY MESSAGE?
King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: 011 966 11 403 3125 (This is via the Ministry of the Interior and is hard to reach.)
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Send Waleed a card or other message so he knows that he has not been forgotten. He can use the card to decorate his prison cell. Please do not mention Amnesty International. And please avoid pictures that are religious or of animals. (They could offend some people in Saudi Arabia.)
Send your greeting to Waleed’s wife:
Samar Mohammad Badawi
al-Nahda Street, King Abdulaziz Road
PO Box 117377
Postal code 21391
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
Learn more about Amnesty International’s campaign to Stop Torture and take action: www.amnesty.ca/stoptorture
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