Release Journalist Imprisoned for Tweets

jail cell by Adam Jones PhD

Target: Specialized Criminal Court Prosecutor

Goal: Release Alaa Brinji from prison after he was arrested for Twitter posts supporting human rights.

A Saudi Arabian court has imprisoned a local journalist for tweets written in support of human rights, the right of women to drive cars, and political prisoners. These tweets resulted in Alaa Brinji’s being arrested and tried in Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism court, facing charges of apostasy, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia, and ridiculing Islamic religious figures.

He was arrested two years ago and allegedly held without access to a lawyer with stretches in solitary confinement. While he was not convicted of apostasy–a charge that carries a possible death sentence in Saudi Arabia–he received a five-year prison term, an eight-year travel ban, and a fine of 50,000 riyals ($13,500).

This sentence comes amidst and crackdown on free expression in Saudi Arabia which has seen the arrests, convictions, and harassment of journalists and individuals trying to make their opinions heard. Some of these convictions occur under the guise of counter-terrorism and have resulted in executions. Earlier this year, pro-democracy activist Sheikh Nimr was executed, and writer and activist Raif Badawi was flogged last year.

In the case of Alaa Brinj, he has neither advocated for nor committed violent acts–he has simply stated his views. His imprisonment is a gross violation of the human right to free speech and self expression. Furthermore, he has been denied access to counsel, damaging his ability to defend himself against the charges he faces. Sign our petition to demand that Alaa Brinji be freed.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Specialized Criminal Court Prosecutor,

I must urge you to release Alaa Brinji, who has been sentenced to five years in prison for tweets. His continued incarceration does nothing but undermine the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s reputation globally and further inflame tension internally.

Every human has the right to self expression, and while that right does not extend to advocating for violent acts, Alaa Brinji did no such thing. His alleged lack of access to a lawyer also undermines the credibility of the system that convicted him.

Saudi Arabia currently holds a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission. As such, this is the perfect opportunity to show leadership on human rights. Alaa Brinji has never supported violence–he is not a terrorist, simply a human, and as such he has opinions. Again, I urge you to release him and show your nation’s respect for human rights.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Adam Jones

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