Saudi Arabia: Raef Badawi faces ‘apostasy’ charges

English PEN shares PEN International’s grave concern at a judge’s recommendation to refer editor Raef Badawi to the General Court on charges of ‘apostasy’. If convicted, Badawi could face the death penalty

In December 2013, the Saudi Court of Appeal undertook the decision to review Raef Badawi’s seven year and three months prison sentence for ‘founding a liberal website,’ ‘adopting liberal thought’ and ‘insulting Islam’. The Court of Appeal reversed the ruling of the District Court in Jeddah, and ordered that Badawi’s case be sent for review by another court. However, on 25 December the newly appointed judge reportedly remanded Badawi to the General Court on charges of ‘apostasy’, stating that the lower court was not qualified to deal with the case.

According to PEN’s information, the apostasy charge is only a recommendation from the judge and not a decision.

For further information on Badawi’s case, please visit the PEN International website.

TAKE ACTION

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the judge’s 25 December 2013 recommendation to remand editor Raef Badawi for trial to the General Court on charges of apostasy;
  • Reminding the Saudi Arabian authorities that freedom of belief, including the right to change religion or hold no religion is a right protected under international law;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Raef Badawi on the grounds that he is being held solely for peacefully expressing his opinions, in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and urging that on no account should he be sentenced to death.

Appeals to be sent 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 Salman bin Abdulaziz 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 Excellency

Minister of Justice

His Excellency Shaykh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa
Ministry of Justice,
University Street
Riyadh 11137 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: + 966 1 401 1741 + 966 11 402 0311
Salutation: Your Excellency

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Saudi Arabia in your country

HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
30-32 Charles St
London
W1J 5DZ
Fax: 02079173113
Email: ukemb@mofa.gov.sa

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=ukemb@mofa.gov.sa’ subject=”In support of editor Raef Badawi”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to express my grave concern for editor Raef Badawi.

According to PEN’s information, in December 2013, the Saudi Court of Appeal undertook the decision to review Raef Badawi’s prison sentence for ‘founding a liberal website,’ ‘adopting liberal thought’ and ‘insulting Islam’. The Court of Appeal reversed the ruling of the District Court in Jeddah, and ordered that Badawi’s case be sent for review by another court. However, on 25 December the newly-appointed judge reportedly remanded Badawi to the General Court on charges of ‘apostasy’, stating that the lower court was not qualified to deal with the case.

I strongly protest the judge’s recommendation to remand editor Raef Badawi for trial to the General Court on charges of apostasy, and respectfully remind the Saudi Arabian authorities that freedom of belief, including the right to change religion or hold no religion, is a right protected under international law.

I am therefore calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Raef Badawi on the grounds that he is being held solely for peacefully expressing his opinions, in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I also urge that on no account should he be sentenced to death.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

[/ecampaign]

About Cat Lucas

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

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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