This week Jude Kirton-Darling MEP will be writing letters to raise cases of human rights violations as part of Amnesty International UK's 'Write for Rights' campaign.
Respect for human rights is one of the European Union's fundamental values. The European Parliament plays an important role in the protection of human rights through its legislative action, by holding regular debates on human rights ...emergencies around the globe and by enshrining human rights in the European Union's external trade agreements.
Todays letter is to King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia urging him to release imprisoned human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair immediately and unconditionally. In July 2014, lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in jail after years of harassment, arrests, threats and court cases. Through his work, he had challenged the widespread attack on human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Since 2012, the authorities have led a ruthless crackdown on their critics, and have handed out long prison sentences to people who have dared to call for greater freedoms. Waleed has represented many peaceful activists, including his brother-in-law Raif Badawi, the blogger jailed and sentenced to 1,000 lashes.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament awarded Raif Badawi the European Parliament's highest accolade, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for his courageous journalism and activism within the Kingdom. In addition, Labour MEP's proposed a resolution passed by a huge majority earlier this year which demanded that Saudi Arabia quash the sentence of 17-year old Ali al-Nimr, a child demonstrator due to be beheaded and crucified after taking part in a democracy protest.
We remain resolute in our commitment to human rights around the globe and will continue to proactively demand their protection in Saudi Arabia!
this is a copy of today letter:
Dear King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,
Regarding the imprisonment of Waleed Abu al-Khair
As a member of the European Parliament I am writing to express my concerns over the imprisonment of human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair. In July 2014, the human rights lawyer was sentenced to 15 years in jail by a counter-terrorism court after years of harassment, arrests, threats and court cases. Through his work, he had challenged the widespread attack on human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Waleed has represented many peaceful activists, including his brother-in-law Raif Badawi, the blogger jailed and sentenced to 1,000 lashes, whom was recently became the 2015 laureate of the European Parliament's highest accolade, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Waleed has been beaten, deprived of sleep and kept in solitary confinement while in prison. He has been regularly moved from one jail to another, and as a result his wife and child have found it difficult to visit him.
Respect for human rights is one of the European Union's fundamental values and I thereby respectfully urge you to release Waleed Abu al-Khair immediately and unconditionally so that he can be with his family, ensuring that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment. I call upon you to have all charges again him dropped and for his sentence quashed and call for an end to the harassment, intimidation and detention of peaceful activists and human rights defenders.
Human rights defenders must not be treated as terrorists, tried under counter-terror laws or appear before the counter-terror court.