Stop Execution of Poet Accused of Blasphemy

Saudi Press Agency

Target: Joseph W. Westphal, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Goal: Release poet scheduled to be executed in Saudi Arabia.

A poet in Saudi Arabia was given the death penalty based on charges of “apostasy” in his writing. This is the latest in a long line of severe and unusual punishments issued by the Saudi government.

Ashraf Fayadh, a contemporary artist and writer, will be receiving the death penalty after facing charges of blasphemy. He was detained from a cafe in Abha for making comments against Islamic beliefs and insulting the Prophet Muhammad. He is charged further for promoting atheism, blaspheming Islam and the Quran, and having forbidden relationships with the opposite sex.

Charging citizens based on their peaceful expression violates international human rights. Saudi Arabia is a participant in the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which is based on ideas of “freedom, justice, and equality.”

Art is a highly subjective and vital form of expression throughout the world. Artists must be given the freedom to challenge their surroundings and express ideas without government interference. Punishing a poet with the death penalty is cruel and extreme. Demand that charges are dropped against Ashraf Fayadh and artistic expression is protected throughout the world.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Westphal,

An artist and poet has been charged with the death penalty due to peaceful, anti-Islamic expression. The Saudi Arabian government has scheduled Ashraf Fayadh’s execution based on his promotion of atheism, blasphemy against Islam, and illicit relations with the opposite sex. This follows in a long line of cruel punishments exhibited by the Saudi government based on subjective believes.

Art is an essential tool for expression throughout all cultures. It’s crucial to protect an artist’s right to express themselves peacefully, even if it is against the social norm or popular belief. Many artists promote voices that would otherwise be repressed in a society, and Ashraf Fayadh art may be voicing the opinions of many Saudi Arabian citizens. Furthermore, the death penalty is a highly problematic punishment that allows for prejudices and errors that are irreversible.

We urge you to push for the release of Ashraf Fayadh and help the global preservation of artistic freedom.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Saudi Press Agency

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