Posts Tagged ‘Waleed Abu Al-Khair’

Right Livelihood Award urges freedom for 3 Saudi laureates

November 14, 2018

The Right Livelihood Award — known as the “Alternative Nobel” — appealed on Wednesday 14 November to Saudi Arabia to free three jailed human rights defenders who are the recipients of this year’s award The foundation also urged that the kingdom stop “harassing and killing those who fight” for democracy. Ole von Uexkull, foundation head, said the three jailed Saudi men had “acted through peaceful means” in their activism.

In September, the three Saudi activists — Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair were announced as the winners together with two Latin American anti-corruption crusaders — Thelma Aldana of Guatemala and Colombia’s Ivan Velasquez. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/09/24/laureates-of-the-2018-right-livelihood-award-announced/ ]

The foundation said two family members and Yahya Assiri, another Saudi rights activist, will attend the award ceremony planned in Stockholm next week.

http://www.startribune.com/alternative-nobel-urges-freedom-for-3-saudi-activists/500464501/

 

Laureates of the 2018 Right Livelihood Award announced

September 24, 2018

The Laureates of this year’s Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, have been announced this morning at the International Press Centre at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm, Sweden.  This years’ Honorary Award goes to anti-corruption champions Thelma Aldana (Guatemala) & Iván Velásquez (Colombia). The three cash awards go to civil and human rights defenders Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair (Saudi Arabia), the farmer Yacouba Sawadogo (Burkina Faso), known as “the man who stopped the desert”, and the agronomist Tony Rinaudo (Australia). See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/28/saudi-arabia-imprisoned-waleed-abu-al-khair-receives-another-human-rights-award/https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/mohammad-fahd-al-qahtani; https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/abdullah-al-hamid/

The Laureates’ trailblazing work for accountability, democracy and the regeneration of degraded land gives tremendous hope and deserves the world’s highest attention. At a time of alarming environmental decline and failing political leadership, they show the way forward into a very different future,” comments Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation. For more on the award see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/right-livelihood-award

The Award presentation will take place on 23 November at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, followed by public events and high-level meetings in Geneva, Zurich and Berlin.

 

Saudi Arabia: Imprisoned Waleed Abu al-Khair receives another human rights award

February 28, 2017

2014_Saudi_WaleedAbuKhair
Waleed Abu al-Khair, prominent lawyer and human rights activist, speaks to Human Rights Watch over Skype from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2013.

Saudi courts have convicted at least 20 prominent peaceful activists and dissidents since 2011. Many, like Abu al-Khair, have faced sentences as long as 10 or 15 years on broad, catch-all charges – such as “breaking allegiance with the ruler” or “participating in protests” – that do not constitute recognizable crimes. “Every day Waleed Abu al-Khair spends in prison compounds the injustice Saudi Arabia has imposed on him and his family,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

[Abu al-Khair has been one of Saudi Arabia’s leading human rights advocates for years. In July 2014, the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), Saudi Arabia’s terrorism tribunal, convicted him on a number of broad and vaguely worded charges, including for comments to news outlets and on Twitter criticizing Saudi human rights violations. In addition to sentencing him to prison, the court banned him from traveling abroad for another 15 years. Abu al-Khair played no active part in his trial. He refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court or to defend himself. He also refused to sign a copy of the trial judgment or to appeal either his conviction or sentence. In January 2015, an appeals tribunal within the SCC overturned part of the earlier ruling following a prosecution appeal of the court’s suspension of five years of his term, and ruled instead that Abu al-Khair should serve all 15 years in prison.]

Saudi human rights activists gather outside the Criminal Court of Riyadh following a hearing in the trial of fellow activists Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtani.
Saudi human rights activists gather outside the Criminal Court of Riyadh following a hearing in the trial of fellow activists Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtani. Sulaiman al-Rashoodi (second from right), Mohammed al-Qahtani (third from right), Waleed Abu al-Khair (center, fourth from right) and Abdullah al-Hamid (fifth from right) © 2013 Private

 

Saudi authorities regularly pursue charges against human rights activists based on their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, in violation of international human rights obligations. Other Saudi activists and dissidents currently serving long prison terms based solely on their peaceful activism include Mohammed al-QahtaniAbdullah al-HamidFadhil al-ManasifSulaiman al-RashoodiAbdulkareem al-KhodrFowzan al-HarbiRaif Badawi, Saleh al-Ashwan, Abdulrahman al-Hamid, Zuhair KutbiAlaa Brinji, and Nadhir al-Majed. Saudi authorities arrested activists Issa al-Nukheifi and Essam Koshak in December 2016 and January 2017 respectively, and they may face trial. Others, including Abdulaziz al-Shubaily and Issa al-Hamid, are free while appealing long sentences the SCC handed down in 2016. Mohammed al-Oteibi and Abdullah Attawi are currently on trial for forming a human rights organization in 2013.

Essam Koshak
Essam Koshak © Private

Source: Saudi Arabia: Imprisoned Activist Earns Human Rights Award | Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International’s Annual ‘Write for Rights’ campaign focuses on freedom of expression

November 30, 2015

world map

During the annual Write for Rights campaign, from 4-17 December, hundreds of thousands of Amnesty International supporters and activists around the world will send letters, emails, SMS messages, faxes and tweets calling for the release of activists jailed for peaceful dissent, supporting victims of torture and pointing a spotlight on other human rights abuses. “Our campaign promises exciting, uniting and effective activism bringing together people from all different walks of life,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International on 27 November when launching this year’s campaign. Amnesty-Internationa

2014 was a record-breaking year for the campaign, with hundreds of thousands of people in more than 200 countries and territories sending 3,245,565 messages offering support or calling for action on the cases of 12 individuals and communities experiencing human rights abuses. More than a million messages have been sent in support of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi since the campaign raised his case.

The annual campaign has achieved some victories such as:

  • On 28 May 2015, the Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan pardoned and released Nigerian torture survivor Moses Akatugba.
  • The 2013 campaign led to the release of three prisoners of conscience: Cambodian housing rights activist Yorm Bopha, community leader from Myanmar Tun Aung and Russian protester Vladimir Akimenkov.

The 2015 Write for Rights campaign illustrates the growing pressure on freedom of expression, calling for the release of several people jailed or facing trial as a price for peaceful dissent:

  • Uzbekistan: Muhammad Bekzhanov, the world’s longest-imprisoned journalist (together with Yusuf Ruzimuradov from the same paper, jailed at the same time in 1999).
  • Malaysia: Political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque or “Zunar”, who faces a long prison sentence under the Sedition Act for tweets criticizing the country’s judiciary.
  • Myanmar: Phyoe Phyoe Aung, leader of one of Myanmar’s largest students unions, one of 54 students and protesters jailed after protests on 10 March 2015.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Peaceful youth activists Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma, arrested at a press conference and awaiting trial accused of forming a criminal gang and attempting to overthrow the government.
  • Saudi Arabia: Lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, currently serving a 15-year prison sentence followed by a 15-year travel ban and a fine for his peaceful activism. Before his imprisonment, he defended many victims of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, including Raif Badawi, who was supported by last year’s campaign.

 

A factsheet is available from AI with more details about Write for Rights and the cases highlighted by this year’s campaign: https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/write-for-rights/.

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/john-legend-writes-for-amnesty-internationals-write-for-rights-campaign/

Source: WORLD’S BIGGEST HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON ABUSES

What Wikileaks reveal about Saudi Arabia’s methods against human rights defenders

June 23, 2015

On 22 June Ms. Samar Badawi, via the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia [MHRSA], tells how the government fabricated stories to explain to the USA its travel ban on human rights defender Waleed AbuAlkhair. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/saudi-arabian-human-rights-lawyer-waleed-abu-al-khair-wins-ludovic-trarieux-prize/]
He already was portrayed as an atheist, working for foreign agendas, receiving foreign funding, etc. Now, in one of the leaked WikiLeaks cables of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Interior tries to justify its preventing Waleed AbuAlKhair from traveling to attend the Democratic Leaders Program sponsored by the US State Department. After the Saudi ambassador in Washington received a call from the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Saudi Ministry of Interior fabricated a story that Waleed is facing a family suit because of his marriage and his conversion from Sunni to Shiite Islam. None of this was mentioned in court, when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for demanding constitutional monarchy, and the establishment of two human rights organizations.
for more information: samar.badawi1@gmail.com

Saudi Arabian human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair wins Ludovic Trarieux Prize

June 14, 2015

Saudi Lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair

Waleed Abu al-Khair (twitter)

Waleed Abu al-Khair, a human rights defender from Saudi Arabia has won the 2015 Ludovic Trarieux Prize, a prestigious award for human rights lawyers [for more info on the award see: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/ludovic-trarieux-international-human-rights-prize]. Waleed Abu al-Khair is a long-standing campaigner (started the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia – MHRSA) and was given a 15-year jail sentence by a Jeddah court last year, in a ruling that Human Rights Watch (HRW), Front Line and many others have heavily criticized [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/waleed-abu-al-khair/].

Currently in jail himself, Al-Khair represented prominent blogger (and brother-in-law) Raif Badawi who has been jailed for 10 years and sentenced to 1,000 lashes. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/saudi-court-upholds-bloggers-10-years-and-1000-lashes/]

Bertrand Favreau, the founder of the Ludovic Trarieux Prize, told AFP the award goes to those who “through their work, activities or suffering defend the respect for human rights“.

https://wabolkhairen.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/a-letter-to-the-saudi-king-from-the-law-society-in-england-and-wales-regarding-waleedabualkhair/

Saudi Arabia: jailed blogger Raif Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair wins human rights award.

Saudi Arabia: persecution of human rights defenders continues as usual

April 25, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

reported two more cases of persecution of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. On 17 April 2014, the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced human rights defender Mr Fadel Al-Manasef to 15 years’ imprisonment, issued a travel ban against him for 15 years and fined him €19,300. Fadel Al-Manasef is a writer and blogger, and a founding member of Al Adalah Center for Human Rights, a Saudi Arabian NGO that documents and monitors human rights violations and provides supports to victims. He has been in detention since his arrest on 2 October 2011.

[In the same hearing, the judge dismissed two more cases against the human rights defender dating from 2009 and 2013. During the trial, Fadel Al-Manasef declared to the court that he had been subjected to torture and other forms of ill treatment during interrogations, however the court failed to address the allegations.] For more information: <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/16118> .

On 15 April 2014, human rights defender Mr Waleed Abu Al-Khair was arbitrarily detained, while at the premises of the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh. The human rights defender was attending the fifth session of an ongoing trial against him at that court. Neither  Waleed Abu Al-Khair’s family nor his lawyer have been informed of the reasons for the arrest. Waleed Abu Al-Khair is a lawyer and head of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.  The  application to register the organisation as a human rights NGO was rejected.

[29 October 2013, the human rights defender was sentenced to 3 months in prison by a Jeddah court on charges including “organising illegal gatherings” and “insulting the judiciary”. Waleed Abu Al-Khair had been waiting to be informed of when the sentence would be carried out. In addition, in Riyadh, the human rights defender faces charges including: “striving to overthrow the state and the authority of the King”; “criticizing and insulting the judiciary”; “assembling international organizations against the Kingdom”; “creating and supervising an unlicensed organization, and contributing to the establishment of another”; and, “preparing and storing information that will affect public security”. see:  <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/25289> ]