[Saudi Arabia] Prominent writer and editor arrested, fears for their safety

English PEN is seriously concerned for the safety of writer Turki Al-Hamad and editor Raef Badawi. Al-Hamad was arrested on 24 December 2012 after a series of controversial tweets and is at risk of being charged with apostasy, which carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Raef Badawi, who was arrested on 17 June 2012, has also been charged with apostasy for his online writings. PEN demands their immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and calls upon the Saudi authorities to ensure that they are treated humanely whilst in detention. For more information on their cases, please see the PEN International website.

We also remain deeply concerned for the well-being of writer Hamza Kashgari who was extradited on 9 February 2012 from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia and remains detained. He is facing charges of blasphemy stemming from a series of tweets addressed to the Prophet Mohammed on the anniversary of the Prophet’s birth on 4 February 2012.

TAKE ACTION

Please send appeals:

  • Expressing grave concern for the safety of writer Turki Al-Hamad, editor Raef Badawi and writer Hamza Kashgari who are currently detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression;
  • Urging that they are immediately and unconditionally released, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Calling on the Saudi authorities to ensure that they are not subject to torture and ill-treatment whilst in detention;
  • Urging the Saudi authorities to stop using charges of apostasy to stifle freedom of expression.

 Appeals to:

His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court,
Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 1 403 3125
Salutation: Your Majesty

Crown Prince and Minister of the Interior
His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Ministry of the Interior
P.O.Box 2933, Airport Road,
Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 403 3125
Salutation: Your Majesty Crown Prince and Minister of the Interior

Please also send copies of your appeal letters to the diplomatic representative for Saudi Arabia in your country:

HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
30 Charles Street
London
W1J 5DZ

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

One Comment on “[Saudi Arabia] Prominent writer and editor arrested, fears for their safety”

  1. “The Qur’an itself does not prescribe any earthly punishment for apostasy,” (wikipedia) so by what authority exactly do these religious fascists act upon? How awful must it be to live a life of such immaturity and hatefulness that you violently lash out against anyone who dares express an personal opinion that you do not share. How much worse, though, to live in the proximity of such mentally deficient and murderous bullies. Freedom of speech is every single human’s right, no-one on earth, individually or collectively, can legitimately claim otherwise.    

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