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(WASHINGTON, DC) Ahead of President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia tomorrow to pay his respects following the death of King Abdullah, Amnesty International USA is urging the president to advocate for the release of Raif Badawi as well as other Prisoners of Conscience. Badawi, a blogger, was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. The first 50 floggings took place on Jan. 9. Despite medical assessments that the floggings be suspended on health grounds, Raif Badawi is still in prison and at risk of the remaining floggings being carried out.
Amnesty International USA executive director, Steven W. Hawkins, issued the following statement:
“Amnesty International is urging President Obama to ask the new king for the unconditional release of Raif Badawi, Waleed Abu Al-Khair and all Prisoners of Conscience in Saudi Arabia during his visit tomorrow.
“While we recognize that Saudi Arabia is in a period of mourning, it must also be acknowledged that there are serious concerns about torture and unlawful detention or beheading by the authorities in the past decade. Saudi Arabia’s human rights reforms must be a priority for the next king.”
More information on Badawi’s case can be found at: www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/saudi-arabia-doctors-find-raif-badawi-unfit-for-flogging-on-health-grounds-second-week-in-a-row
Follow Steven W. Hawkins on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenWHawkins
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people in over 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.