CCS wrote to the King of Saudi Arabia, requesting a pardon for Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger who was sentenced to a 10-year prison term as well as weekly floggings for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” By subjecting Badawi to torture, Saudi Arabia violates agreements that it is party to: The UN Convention Against Torture and the Arab Charter on Human Rights.
November 30, 2015
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud
Riyadh, Royal Court: 11-488-2222
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
We, the Committee of Concerned Scientists, are respectfully asking your Majesty to pardon Raif Badawi, the blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and the 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam through electronic channels. This sentence and the underlying conviction were imposed on Mr. Badawi for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
The floggings were to be carried out in increments of 50 lashes weekly for a period of 20 weeks. However, the first round of lashings were so brutal that they did not heal in time for the scheduled second round. His case was referred to Saudia Arabia’s Supreme Court which upheld the sentence. Subsequent floggings have been suspended, to date.
Subjecting Mr. Badawi to 50 lashes weekly is cruel, inhumane and degrading. It violates international law and amounts to torture. As a State party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, your government is obligated to prevent such torturous punishment and must ensure Mr. Badawi is not subject to further flogging. Also, as a party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, your government has agreed to refrain from physical torture and respect freedom of thought, conscience and opinion.
Mr. Badawi was convicted solely for exercising those freedoms outlined in the Arab Charter, as well as its guarantee as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We urge you to immediately overturn his conviction and unconditionally set him free. Given the suffering he has already endured it is vital that he be given adequate healthcare until released as well as access to his family and legal representation.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
RSF hopes Raif Badawi will be freed very soon (http://en.rsf.org)