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» Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

» Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Saudi Arabia: release @raif_badawi now. We won’t accept anything less. He needs to join his lovely wife and kids. He must be free.

— Maryam Namazie (@MaryamNamazie) December 26, 2013

Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, currently serving his 7-year prison term for “insulting Islam”, may soon appear in a higher court on graver charges of apostasy. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.

Bringing Badawi back to court to face graver charges was recommended by a judge in Saudi Arabia, the activist’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told CNN on Wednesday. The news has caused an uproar in social media.

Raif Badawi is the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, created in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia freely. Badawi’s persecution for what was described as “insulting Islam” started the same year the site was set up. The blogger then fled the country to escape arrest. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was eventually jailed in June 2012.

In July this year, a criminal court in Jeddah found the man guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and of violating Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law. Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison.

The court’s ruling was condemned by international human rights watchdogs.

A choice Muslims have to make: Will you demand the freedom of blogger Raif Badawi or will u back the Saudi regime? pic.twitter.com/rRDdq9n0aN

— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) December 26, 2013

“This incredibly harsh sentence for a peaceful blogger makes a mockery of Saudi Arabia’s claims that it supports reform and religious dialogue,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A man who wanted to discuss religion has already been locked up for a year and now faces 600 lashes and seven years in prison.”

Badawi’s possible retrial is the latest episode in the country’s crackdown on dissent. Four members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) were jailed in 2013. In the most recent case in December, 24-year-old Omar al-Saed was sentenced to four years in prison and 300 lashes after calling for political reform. Amnesty International called for the activist’s immediate release.

“Amnesty International considers Omar al-Hamid al-Saed to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his peaceful activities as a member of ACPRA and calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and conditionally release him and to ensure that he is not subjected to flogging or any other corporal punishment,” the group’s public statement , released on December 19 reads.

Earlier, the watchdog criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to follow up on any of its promises to improve the country’s human rights record. The pledges were made following a 2009 review, issued by the UN Human Rights Council.

“Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression,” Philip Luther, Director of Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said in October.

Amnesty’s criticism however did not prevent Saudi Arabia from being elected to the UN Human Rights Council in November. Its three-year term in UNHRC starts January 1, 2014.

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Saudi Arabia Passes Anti-Terror Law, Banning Defamation

Saudi Arabia Passes Anti-Terror Law

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved on Monday a new anti-terrorism draft law that criminalizes acts that disturb public order, defame the reputation of the state or threaten the kingdom’s unity, raising concerns by activists it could be used to quash political dissent.

A rights activist and a rights lawyer denounced the law as too broad, saying that besides terrorists, it targets civil society activists calling for democratic reforms. They spoke anonymously for fear of retribution. State-owned Saudi media released details of the law online after the Cabinet meeting, but the news outlets focused headlines on Cabinet decisions to increase government spending. News of the anti-terror law and its approval was marginalized. Al-Riyadh Net news website said the law was proposed by the Interior Ministry and reviewed by the advisory Shura Council. It reported that King Abdullah is preparing to issue a decree putting the law into effect. The Cabinet statement, carried by state media outlets, says the law will strike a balance between the risks of terrorist crimes and the protection of human rights. The statement then describes crimes of terrorism to include “disturbing public order, or undermining the security and stability of the nation, or exposing the nation’s unity to danger… or defaming the reputation of the state or its position.” In the past, Saudi women who got behind the wheel of a car were accused of disturbing public order for defying a driving ban imposed on females. One Saudi activist said this means women drivers can be tried under the anti-terror law, for example. Activists told The Associated Press the law was first drafted under the late Prince Nayef in 2011 when he was Interior Minister before his death a year later. A group of well-organized human rights campaigners in the kingdom were leaked a copy of the draft law and took to the Internet and social media to blast its broad wording. They also called on the prince to be removed from the line of succession for his role in overseeing torture and abuse of prisoners in Saudi jails. The law was quickly shelved at the time. Since then, at least 12 activists from that group known as the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association have been arrested. This year, the group’s top leaders Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtani, were sentenced up to 11 years in prison and slapped with lengthy travel bans after their release. The Saudi Council of Ministers is comprised of nearly two dozen members all appointed by King Abdullah. The meeting Monday was chaired by his likely successor, Crown Prince Salman, who is also deputy premier and the defense minister.

CORRECTION: An earlier image incorrectly identified the subject as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. It has been replaced.

 

 

Saudi Prince Defects: ‘Brutality, Oppression As Government Scared Of Arab Revolts’

Saudi Prince Defects: ‘Brutality, Oppression As Government Scared Of Arab Revolts’.

 

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