'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Sister of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi arrested and jailed in same prison
Samar Badawi, a prominent Saudi human rights advocate – and
the sister of jailed
blogger Raif Badawi – has been arrested and is being held in the same
prison as her brother, according to activists and family members. In a series of tweets Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, said
Samar had been arrested and transferred to Dharhan central prison after four
hours of questioning.
According to Haidar, Amnesty International and the Raif Badawi Foundation – a
Canadian advocacy group – Samar is believed to have been arrested Tuesday for
posting to a Twitter account used to campaign for the release of her former
husband, Waleed Abu al-Khair, and for publishing of photo of him in jail. Abu al-Khair is a Saudi human rights lawyer currently
serving a 15-year sentence, in part for defending Raif Badawi.
In a statement, Amnesty called Samar’s arrest “the latest
example of Saudi Arabia’s utter contempt for its human rights obligations and
provides further damning proof of the authorities’ intent to suppress all signs
of peaceful dissent”. Raif Badawi has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since 2012
and was sentenced in 2014 by a Saudi court to 10
years in jail and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam and criticizing the
regime on his blog. He received 50 lashes just over one year ago. His wife came to Canada with the couple’s three children in
2013 and has been a tireless campaigner for his release.
Raif Badawi’s imprisonment has received condemnation from
human rights groups and others abroad and in Canada, though he is not a
Canadian citizen. Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Stephane Dion, discussed
Badawi’s case with his Saudi Arabian counterpart when he visited Ottawa in
December. In February, prior to the Liberals’ 19 October federal
election win, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Haidar and expressed
support for Raif Badawi’s cause, though he told the Canadian Press last month
he had no “immediate plans” to personally intervene on his behalf.
On Tuesday, the Center for Inquiry, an American advocacy
group, also called on the US state department “to bring to bear what diplomatic
power they have to press Saudi Arabia to
release Samar”. Samar received the 2012 International Women of Courage award
for her efforts to promote women’s equality in Saudi Arabia.