Rights Bodies Appeal for Two Saudis

Human Rights Watch has urged courts in Jeddah to dismiss a case against Rai’f Badawi, founder of Saudi Liberals forums. On May 5, the prosecutor charged Badawi with “setting up an electronic site that insults Islam,” and referred the case to court, asking for a five-year prison sentence and a 3 million riyal fine.

Badawi no longer owns or controls the website. After unknown hackers, who probably think they were doing some sort of electronic jihad, attacked the website several times and threatened him and his family, he sold the website and fled the country two weeks ago. A new owner announced a while ago that he took over the website, which has been offline for more than a week now.

It is understood that Badawi will be tried according to the E-Crimes Act that has been issued in March 2007. The act, which can be found here (Arabic PDF), contains some laws that seem to target free speech such as Article 6 which incriminates “producing content which violates general order, religious values, public morals or sanctity of private life, or preparing it, or sending it, or storing it via the network or a computer.”

The questions is: who defines and specifies what are those religious values and what are those public morals? I don’t know if this act has been approved by the Shoura Council or not, because I think it is unacceptable for the Council to approve such act that contains these vague laws and articles which contradicts international conventions and accords on which Saudi Arabia is a signatory.

amnesty_logo On a related note, Amnesty International are appealing for Muhammad Ali Abu Raziza, a psychology professor at the University of Um al-Qura, who has been sentenced to 150 lashes and eight months’ imprisonment for meeting a woman in a coffee shop. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this case and the reports on it in the local press has been full of contradictions. Therefor, I can’t make up my mind on who is at fault here.

However, I think the Commission should seriously reconsider how to define and deal with this whole “khulwa” thing. When a man and a woman meet in a public place like a cafe, a restaurant, or in the street where they are surrounded by people and others can see them, does it constitute a khulwa? I doubt that they will ever think this through but I guess it’s worth asking anyway.

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14 thoughts on “Rights Bodies Appeal for Two Saudis

  1. Don’t you people realize that religion is used to herd you like a bunch of cattle??? It is a wonderful tool for keeping the masses under control. In the west monarchies used it this way for centuries with the cooperation of the clergy. An example: The idea that God/Allah doesn’t want men and women to meet and talk is so absurd as to be funny. Your clergy and royals LOVE their power and easy life and will continue to beat inprision you with religion until you wake up and relaize it for the scam that it is.

  2. We have a strange sense of justice in here, While the Quraan sentenced those who commit Zina or sex outside marriage with 100 flags maximum, providing that there is enough evidence, we find that 150 or 300 flags at times are not uncommon in sentences placed by our judges, so these judges maybe more “Just” than God!!!…But I have to say that paying attention to cultural norms is a must in our society and the risk of going against them is really unnecessary at most times, you can definitely find a way to express your opinions & live your style without offending others, nowadays, technology would enable people to communicate & meet without being physically at the same place, until someone is safe enough he/she should place personal safety above all. In Mecca in particular, unrelated couples meetings are not acceptable although based on false religious assumptions…

  3. These human right organisations don’t really care of people.. They are just tools used for pressure on some Nations.
    Most high rank people in these organisations are affective members in many greedy political and economic lobbies.
    Back on the news above, I think that the issue was not about opinions and viewpoints of those people..It is about break of the laws of a country .It is the sovereign laws , the most venerable Right has been respected by the United Nations League..

  4. How dissapointing!. We are being supposed to think with out thinking, and if ” the thinking process ” did its thing, again we should STOP our minds exercising their rights due to unexplainable circumstances

  5. That’s Normal..
    unfortunately, I am not surprised..
    Everything here is left “undefined” so that they can do whatever they want to whoever they want.. just by putting their laws in the place they want.. and you’ll see how it fits…
    And EA.. Yes.. in sometime of my life I used to think that “thinking” about anything religious is forbidden and “haram”!!
    Everyone has been asking for detailed laws.. but they don’t want to!!!

  6. How wonderful to find an open discussion of these matters hosted by a Saudi Citizen. Your english is also very excellent.

  7. I would probably be arrested for my yahoo id, even though I am a beautiful woman.
    The Holy Qur’an specifically tells us that we cannot tell others what to believe or how to worship Allah. I spent 16 years of my life in Saudi Arabia, and have always defended Saudis and their country even though they are backwards in their thinking about many things which have nothing to do with Islam.
    But I am very disappointed that the new government is becomming more aggressive towards its citizens. Of course I am against all terrorism but to persecute people and call them terrorists just because they point out injustice and human rights violations is inexcusible.
    The government must realize that you cannot continue to suppress your citizens because if you do, you will breed terrorism.
    Men are totally to blame in Saudi Arabia for this stupidity. I would like to see all of my dear male friends in Saudi to stand up together and to demand human rights as you are entitled to from Allah. If you really believe in Allah then you must believe that he will help you with any problem in your life, including this ridiculous government. Be proud that you are Saudi, but also remember that Allah knows everything you do 24/7. Fe Aman Allah, Muneerah

  8. I seriously began to worry. I mean, all I do is point out flaws in society.
    and just to say something to Frank, religion has nothing to do with all the flaws in our society. it’s actually poor excution and misinterpreting the teachings that is pulling us down.
    Islam has nothing to do with those who call themselves defenders of faith.

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