Subject : The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Must Free Raif badawi- the Online Blogger Activist
H.E. Mustafa Ibrahim Al-Mubarak
Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Jl. MT Haryono Kav 27 Cawang Jakarta – Timur
The Commission for The Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) a human rights non governemental organization based in Indonesia urges the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to give an amnesty to Mr. Raif badawi- a human rights activist who has voicing free speech on his online blog, yet the government perceived his activity would threatened the state security- and to immediately release him. KontraS condemns thecruel and inhuman punishment in form of floggingby Saudi Arabia Kingdom towards Mr. Raif Badawi because of his online activism, as well as the unwillingness of Saudi Arabia Government to review its punishment to Mr. Badawi, eventhough the strong pressure of international community has been made on behalf of human rights value and principle.
Mr. Badawi has been imprisoned from June 2012 due to his online activism on triggering public debate in his website “Free Saudi Liberals”- a website to open debate on the role of religion in Saudi Arabia. In May 2014, the Saudi Arabia government sentenced Mr. Badawi to 10 years of imprisonment, 1.000 times of public logging and a fine of $266,000 for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of opinion and expression. Then, Mr. Badawi was publicly flogged 50 times on January 2015in front of a crowded mosque in Jeddah and will be flogged again until his sentence has been fully carried out.
KontraS is questioning the standing point of Saudi Government which stated that the Kingdom does not accept any interference in its internal affairs and highlighted the independence and impartiality of its judiciary based in Islamic law and human rights. The statement is counterproductive with the inhuman and cruel punishment which carried out by the government as the form of punishment towards any kind of activism and criticism within the country.
In addition, we highlighted the strong restriction of the right to freedom of expression and opinion in Saudi Arabia. The Government has created no space for the society to discuss and criticize the Government system and policy. The Saudi Arabia Government must change the policy and regulation to be in conformity with the Article 19 of Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
We condemn the use of charge under 2011 Law for Combatting Cyber Crimes given to Mr.Badawi which has threatening the exercise of freedom of expression within Saudi Arabia. The charge coversseveral offences, including inciting public opinion against the State and its people, undermining the judicial authorities, inciting international organisations against the Kingdom with the intent of ruining its reputation, establishing a non-registered organisation and with gathering and publishing information.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has violated the Covention Against Torturewhich the Government has been ratify and becomes a state party since 1997, and will have the second round of review in 2015 on its implementation on its Convention. The CAT requires state party including Saudi Arabia to take effective measure to prevent acts of torture on the legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures. Moreover, in Article 2, Paragraph 2 (two) and 3 (three) of the Convention stated that no exceptional circumstances, inlcuding an order from superior officer may be invoked as a justification of torture.
Based on the above mentioned facts, we would like to urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to immadiately release Mr. Raif badawi without further delay and take several steps below, inter alia;
a. The Government of Saudi Arabia must give an Amnesty to Mr. Badawi, withdraw the charge against him and immediately release Mr. Badawi without further delay.
b. The Government of Saudi Arabia must give wider space on the freedom of expression without threatening the society with charge.
c. The Government of Saudi Arabia as the State Party of the Convention Against Torture has to review its legislation and judiciary system to revoke act of torture, inhuman punishment and degrading treatment in the system.
d. The Government of Saudi Arabia must release all the prisoners of conscience or political prisoners within the country as the respect for human rights principles and values in unconditional manner
e. The Government of Saudi Arabia must to ratify the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966) as the strong commitment to protect freedom of expression and other important human rights principles within its jurisdiction.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hear back from you.
Jakarta, 8 June 2015
Haris Azhar, MA
Shall you need further information please contact Rei Firdha Amalia through email: email@example.com or KontraS Secretariat