Target: His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of the Interior
Goal: Return the body of an executed Turkish man to his family
Ali Agirdas, a Turkish national who had been brought up on drug charges in Saudi Arabia, was recently executed. Neither his family nor his lawyer was informed of the execution until days after it had already taken place, and evidence suggests that Agirdas himself was unaware that his execution was imminent. Saudi Arabian authorities still have not released Agirdas’s body to his family or even informed them of its whereabouts. Sign the petition and demand that Agirdas’s body be immediately returned to his grieving family.
Agirdas was accused of trafficking drugs in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. He was tried and sentenced to death, and that sentence was upheld by an appeals court. However, Agirdas’s trial was marked by numerous inconsistencies and fair trial violations; most glaringly, he was persuaded to sign a written confession. A prosecutor told him that the statement–which was written in Arabic–would help with his case, and Agirdas, who does not read Arabic and only speaks it a little, signed it. He later testified that he did not know what the document said when he signed it. He had neither an interpreter nor a lawyer present throughout his initial trial, though he did have a lawyer during the appeals process. His conviction was based mainly on his signed “confession.”
It is too late to achieve justice for Ali Agirdas, but it is not too late to ensure justice for his family. Sign the petition demanding that Agirdas’s body be returned to his loved ones and urging the Saudi Arabian government to correct the problems in its legal system that led to this unfortunate outcome.
I am writing to urge that the body of Ali Agirdas, who was recently executed, be returned to his family immediately, accompanied by an apology for the lack of information regarding his execution. Agirdas’s grieving family did not find out that he had been executed until days after his death. When they did find out, it was through friends who saw his execution reported on the news. They still have not even been informed where his remains are being kept. This is unacceptable.
Furthermore, Agirdas’s trial was plagued by inconsistencies and fair trial violations. He was not provided a lawyer or an interpreter during his trial, despite the fact that he only speaks a little Arabic and cannot read it at all. His conviction was based on a “confession” written in Arabic that he signed without knowing what it said.
Additionally, the use of the death penalty to punish Agirdas’s crime–drug trafficking–was excessive according to international human rights laws, which dictate that capital punishment may only be used for the most severe crimes, usually interpreted to mean murder.
I urge you to pursue justice. It is too late for Ali Agirdas, but it is not too late for his family or for others who may face similar situations in the future. Return Agirdas’s body to his loved ones and ensure that the issues that marked his trial and appeal do not mar the trials of others in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo via Wikimedia Commons