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Last Update: 13 Hour and 52 Minute ago
News code: 28333
Published Date: Wednesday 2 October 2019 - 15:28:08
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Amnesty: One year after Khashoggi killing, fight for freedom of expression is continued by activists

Amnesty: One year after Khashoggi killing, fight for freedom of expression is continued by activists
World  - One year since the extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi citizens are honouring Khashoggi’s legacy by pursuing the fight for their inalienable right to freely express themselves, despite the authorities’ continuing crackdown and the absence of any meaningful signal to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, Amnesty International said today.

"Any talk of assuming responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi's killing is meaningless if not met with the immediate and unconditional release of dozens of individuals who continue to languish in prison, and who continue to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, solely for having expressed their opinion in a peaceful manner," said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

To date, Amnesty International has documented the cases of at least 30 prisoners of conscience who are behind bars serving prison sentences of between five and 30 years solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Amongst those currently detained are Mohammad al-Qahtani, a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association who called for the protection and promotion of human rights and provided legal support to families of detainees, and Waleed Abu al-Khair, a lawyer who defended human rights defenders before his imprisonment. Mohammad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair were tried and sentenced before the counter-terror court to 10 and 15 years in prison, respectively, for their peaceful human rights work.

Since Khashoggi's murder, a crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations has continued unabated. Women human rights defenders were charged and tried for their peaceful human rights campaigning and advocacy for women's rights in the country. While several women activists were temporarily released in recent months, Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada and Nouf Abdulaziz remain in arbitrary detention since May 2018. At least 14 civil society activists, writers and family members of detained activists were also arbitrarily detained almost six months ago and remain in detention without charges.

The death penalty has been used as a political weapon against the Shi'a minority in a chilling mass execution of 37 men, the majority from Saudi Arabia's Shi'a minority, earlier this year. At least 14 others executed were convicted of offences related to their participation in anti-government demonstrations in Saudi Arabia's Shi'a majority Eastern Province between 2011 and 2012. The 14 men were subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention and told the court that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated during their interrogation in order to have ‘confessions' extracted from them. Also among those executed is Abdulkareem al-Hawaj - a young Shi'a man who was arrested at the age of 16 and convicted of offences related to his involvement in anti-government protests.

 

News Code: 28333
Published Date: Wednesday 2 October 2019 - 15:28:08
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