Target: Justice Minister Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Kareem Al-Eissa
Goal: To obtain the release of a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights defender.
A criminal court in Saudi Arabia has recently sentenced prominent human rights activist Dr. Abdulkareem Yousef al-Khoder to serve eight years in jail and handed down a ten-year travel ban. He was convicted on charges of disobeying the ruler, inciting disorder by calling for public protests, harming the state through the dissemination of false information to foreign groups and taking part in the founding of an ‘unlicensed’ organization. The Saudi government has routinely targeted the organization, Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). These charges are simply an attempt to silence Dr. al-Khoder and his organization. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be immediately released without condition.
Dr. al-Khoder had been on trial since January 2013 and had recently requested a new judge be appointed to his case. He argued that the judge had made statements criticizing him before the case had even begun, thereby making the likelihood of a fair trial nearly zero. Dr. al-Khoder was also detained during one of his trial sessions when he refused to enter the courtroom. His refusal came after the judge denied women the right to enter the court session. These facts alone should cast doubt on the motives of the judge and show that the conviction was based on his activism.
The government has offered to drop five of the eight years of his prison sentence if Dr. al-Khoder agrees to not return to his activist lifestyle upon his release from prison. As mentioned above, Dr. al-Khoder is a prisoner of conscience and being held to halt his work promoting equality in Saudi society. Sign this petition and demand that the Saudi government immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Abdulkareem Yousef al-Khoder.
Dear Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Kareem Al-Eissa,
The recent sentencing of Dr. Abdulkareem Yousef al-Khoder is a great step backwards for equality in your country. The charges against him are a clear attempt by your government to silence his activism. This is evident by the offer to drop five years off his sentence if he promises to stop being an activist upon his release. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.
I believe that by allowing for your citizens to engage in meaningful political discussion, society will benefit and the economy of your country will grow. Suppressing the human rights of the people only hurts any growth and shows the international community that your government has little interest in supporting your own people. I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. al-Khoder.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: publik15 via Flickr