Subject: The Sentencing of Waleed Abu al-Khair – a prominent Saudi Arabian Lawyer and Human Rights Defender – to 15 years is Unreasonable and Contrary to the International Human Rights Principle and Norms
To: The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Jakarta
Jl. MT Haryono Kav. 27 Cawang Jakarta Timur
Phone: (+62 21) 8011533 / 8011534
Fax: (+62 21) 3905864 / 8005221
Dear Honorable Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Indonesia,
On behalf of Commission of the Dissapeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – a human rights organization in Indonesia – we deplore over the sentencing of Waleed Abu al-Khair – a prominent Saudi Arabian lawyer and human rights defender – to 15 years in prison which has dealt a fresh blow to peaceful activism and freedom of expression in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We believe this sentence is unreasonable and contrary to the International Human Rights principle and norms, therefore Weleed Abu Al-Khair shall be immadiately release.
We believe that the conviction of the court is unacceptable. The authorities jailed him on April 15, 2014, under the charges of terrorism law and based on his statements to news media and tweets criticizing human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia .
Specialized Criminal Court in Jeddah sentenced Waleed Abu al- Khair to 15 years in prison, a travel ban of equal duration and a fine. The court also ordered him to shut down all websites and social media pages related to him after it found him guilty of “disobeying the ruler and seeking to remove his legitimacy”, “insulting the judiciary and questioning the integrity of judges”, “setting up an unlicensed organization (Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia)”, and “participating in establishing another organization (the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, ACPRA)”, “harming the reputation of the state by communicating with international organizations”, and “preparing, storing and sending information that harms public order.”
Based on the explanation above, we respectfully urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to take immadiate step below, inter alia:
- Saudi Arabia to respect the right to freedom of expression as the member of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva whose members are expected to promote and protect the human rights. Also, as a country who agreed the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam since 1990, Saudi Arabia should obey its declaration, especially the Article 22 which said that: “everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari'ah.”
- Saudi Arabia to immediately and unconditionally released Waleed Abu al-Khair and the sentence must be quashed.
- Saudi Arabia to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of the Waleed Abu al-Khair in the detention. Moreover, the Saudi Arabia has to ensure Waleed Abu al-Khair shall not be subjected to torture and other inhuman treatment.
We hope that you will take into consideration our request, considering that as many as around 15.000 Indonesian are living in Saudi Arabia, we believe the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia will strongly affect our Indonesian people.
Jakarta, July 11th 2014
Executive Coordinator of KontraS
*For further information please contact Ms.Ninies (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through KontraS Secretariat (email@example.com)