"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Obama must back release of Saudi juveniles facing execution

In response to reports that President Obama today called Saudi King Salman to discuss ‘bilateral relations’ and the ‘situation in the region,’ international human rights NGO Reprieve has questioned whether the discussion included human rights and specifically the cases of two juveniles facing beheading.

Reprieve has been working on the cases of Ali Mohammed al Nimr and Dawoud al-Marhoon, both of whom were arrested aged 17 in the wake of political protests and sentenced to death. Today, Reprieve learned that Ali’s father Mohammed, who has spoken out in the media about his son’s case, was arrested and held for a number of hours before being released (see below), in circumstances that are unclear.

The British Government recently cancelled a bid to work with the Saudi prisons system in the wake of criticism of the human rights situation in the country. UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande have both called for Ali al Nimr’s execution to be halted. However, President Obama, despite a personal appeal by Ali’s mother, has yet to comment in person on the case, although an administration official has confirmed that it has been raised with the Kingdom.

Commenting, Kate Higham, a caseworker at Reprieve said:

“We need to know whether President Obama raised the cases of Ali and Dawoud, who were sentenced to death as children over involvement in political protests. As one of Saudi Arabia’s key allies, the US needs to make it clear that abuses such as this are unacceptable. The latest news indicates that Ali and Dawoud are still being held in solitary confinement and could be beheaded at any moment – President Obama needs to intervene personally, as the leaders of France and Britain have done.”

According to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency, President Obama had a call with King Salman today: http://was.sa/1413023 (statement in Arabic). Ali al Nimr's mothers' appeal to the President was reported here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34534235 

Source: Reprieve, October 27, 2015

Saudi authorities arrest father of juvenile set for ‘crucifixion’ 

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
The father of a juvenile sentenced to death by ‘crucifixion’ in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been arrested.

Mohammed al-Nimr, the father of Ali al-Nimr – a juvenile who has been sentenced to death by ‘crucifixion’ having been arrested when he was 17 for attending protests – was reportedly arrested today on unknown charges. He is currently being held at Al Awamiyah police station where his son and another juvenile – Dawoud al-Marhoon, also sentenced to death for attending protests – were first detained.

Yesterday, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the UK wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph in which he complained that the UK was not showing enough ‘respect’ to the gulf Kingdom, after a controversial Ministry of Justice bid to work with the Saudi prison system was withdrawn, seemingly on the basis of human rights concerns. This morning 

Mohammed al-Nimr has been vocal in calling for a commutation of his son’s death sentence by the Saudi authorities. Earlier this month he gave an interview to CNN in which he said that he and his family were ‘extremely worried’ about his son’s fate. 

Kate Higham, caseworker at international human rights NGO Reprieve, said: “It is absolutely outrageous that Mohammed al-Nimr has been arrested, seemingly just for speaking out to save the life of his son. If the Saudi authorities have any concern for due process, human rights, or basic humanity, Mohammed al-Nimr must be released at once. The UK government and all those who have expressed concern about Ali al-Nimr’s case must act now to prevent this illegal detention from continuing, and must re-double their efforts to prevent Ali’s execution – and that of Dawoud al-Marhoon – from happening.”

Source: Reprieve, October 27, 2015

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