Here’s an open letter to Cameron, Miliband etc. on the case of Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who now again faces possible execution for apostasy.
The organisers are trying to move the campaign from petitioning and desperate pleas – amnesty style – to something a little more substantial. There is a translated letter being used in France and they are trying to get Charlie Hebdo survivors to sign.
We intend to send it end of Tuesday, sending to the press for Tuesday lunchtime. It would be good if we could get some signatures on it from trade unionists and socialists.
We are attaching the letter and signatures as of midday today (also below) but anyone thinking it would be useful to make contacts as well as get signatures please use it. Or obviously if you want to sign….. let us know in the comments below.
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is currently imprisoned in a Saudi Arabian jail having received the first 50 of a threatened 1,000 lashes. If Raif survives these floggings he faces another 10 years in jail. His ‘crime’ was to have set up a website that called for peaceful change of the Saudi regime away from the repressive and religiously exclusive regime that it is.
In another shameful act his lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair, and other human rights activists were also later arrested. On February 20th this year Waleed had his sentence confirmed as 15 years in prison.
The European Parliament in its resolution of Feb 12th made clear its demands on Saudi Arabia to release Raif, as well as his lawyer Waleed and others imprisoned there for exercising their freedom of speech.
But to free Raif from this nightmare needs more than politicians saying that they disapprove of his punishment.
The total EU trade with the Saudi regime is currently close to €64 billion a year. The UK alone has approaching £12 billion invested in Saudi Arabia whilst it continues to invite Saudi investment in the UK, particularly in the property market. Saudi investment in the UK is currently over £62.5 billion.
As the regime inflicts beheadings and floggings on its people, questions have to be asked about why more cannot be done to promote the human rights of citizens of a country with which there is such extensive business. Particularly questions have to be asked about the morality of providing such a regime with arms, particularly the weaponry and facilities they use in their brutal penal system.
We ask that you make publicly clear your complete opposition to the human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and demand the immediate release of Raif and Waleed as the EU parliament has done. We also ask that you make publicly clear what measures you will take as a government to put any trading with this regime on an ethical basis and what conditions you will demand from the Saudi regime if all of that trade is to continue – particularly in relation to weapons that might be used in oppression or imprisonment.
If nothing is done to stop the brutality, beheadings and floggings that are committed there – then any moral stand taken against similar horrors committed elsewhere by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria can only be compromised.
In the spirit of consistency, transparency and humanity we ask you to take action to Free Raif and promote human rights in Saudi Arabia
Signatories as at Sunday, 8th March, 12pm:
1. Pete Radcliff FreeRaif_UK
2. Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson for Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All and Producer of Bread and Roses TV
3. Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
4. Francis Wheen, journalist and author
5. Rahila Gupta, Journalist
6. Stephen Law, Provost Center for Inquiry UK
7. James Bloodworth, Editor of Left Foot Forward
8. RaminForghani, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland
9. BahramSoroush, Political Analyst
10. Sarah Peace, Fireproof Library
11. Jonnie Dean, Fireproof Library
12. GonaSaed , Women’s Rights Campaigner
13. Aso Kamal, Secular Activist
14. Dashty Jamal, Federation of Iraqi Refugees UK
15. Noori Bashir, Activist
16. Amal Farah, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All
17. Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society
18. AmelGrami, Tunisian Academic
19. Ibrahim Abdallah, Muslimish NYC Organizer
20. Amine Boukhliq, Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
21. RumanaHashem, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Environmentalist and NariDiganta
22. MariemeHelie Lucas, Founder of Women Living Under Muslims Laws and Secularism is a Women’s Issue
23. Rayhana Sultan, Activist
24. Johnny Monsarrat, Secular Policy Institute
25. Richard Dawkins, Scientist
26. FariborzPooya, Federation of Iranian Refugees UK and Host of Bread and Roses TV
27. Billy Carvaka
28. Paul Stott, Distance Learning Tutor, University of Leicester.
29. Dr. Simon Cottee Senior Lecturer in Criminology Kent University (researcher on Islamism in the UK)
30. Houzan Mahmoud: Kurdish womens rights campaigner- UK
31. Alan Thomas, blogger Shiraz socialist
32. Maajid Nawaz, Co-Founder and Chairman of Quilliam Foundation
33. BehzadVarpushty, Activist
34. Andrew Coates Branch Chair UNITE LE 1/860.
35. LejlaKuric, Secular and Women’s Rights Activist
36. Fatou Sow, International Director of Women Living Under Muslims Laws
37. AliyahSaleem, Secular Education Activist
38. Simon Heywood, writer, UCU
39. Andreas Bieler, UCU NEC and Prof. of Political Economy, Nottingham University/UK
40. Camilla Bassi, blogger and UCU Sheffield
41. Tony Byrne RMT
42. Clive Bradley, writer
43. Diana Peasey, Chair, Nottingham NUJ branch
44. Mick Duckworth Vice-chair Nottingham Branch NUJ
45. Rod Malcolm, reporter
46. Kabir Ahmed NUJ freelance
47. Jasim Ghafur, Iraqi Kurdish activist??