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India: Citizens Appeal for the Release of Raif Badawi, a Saudi Blogger

14 June 2015

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People’s Alliance for Secularism and Democracy
Email: info-pads at lycos.com
Telephone contact: Srinivas Rao 09393875195

Date: 10 June 2015

To:
The Ambassador,
Embassy of Saudi Arabia at New Delhi,
2- Pachchimi Marg, VasantVihar,
New Delhi-110057
inemb at mofa.gov.sa
Fax: 00911126144244

Subject: APPEAL TO RELEASE RAIF BADAWI, A SAUDI BLOGGER

Dear Sir,

This is an appeal regarding Raif Badawi, a blogger and Saudi citizen, founder of the website ‘Free Saudi Liberals’. Mr Badawi has been under arrest since 2012 for insulting Islam and apostasy. He was sentenced to be punished with 10 years in prison along with 1000 lashes (50 lashes to be received on every Friday) and a fine of one million riyals. Though he was cleared of charges of apostasy in 2013, there are new reports that indicate he may be tried again under the same charge.

We are mindful that India and Saudi Arabia have long-standing friendly political and commercial relations and that large numbers of Indians live and work in your country. It is because of this that we feel constrained to convey to you our concerns. Raif Badawi is a public intellectual who communicated his thoughts to the public through a blog. We do not believe that any of its contents constituted a threat to the state. To the contrary, his advocacy for secularism and the separation of religion and state is a suggestion that would strengthen it.

Whether or not his ideas are pleasing to your government, the fact remains that as a member state of the United Nations, Saudi Arabia is presumed to be respectful of the freedom of speech that is provided for under Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. This article states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers‘.

The sharing of information and ideas is a basic human practice and natural right that should be available to everyone regardless of their nationality or identity and (barring extremist incitement) should not be restricted by law. The state should protect and promote our rights instead of restricting them.

It has been reported that Raif Badawi received the first set of lashes on 9 January, after Friday prayers outside the Al-Juffali Mosque in Jeddah. The next round of punishment has been suspended on medical grounds to give his wounds time to heal prior to wounding him again. We consider this an example of barbaric cruelty, not befitting any member state of the UNO. Such practices are a travesty of justice and will bring you only disrepute.

We are Indian citizens who speak for human rights both within our own country and beyond. We are in solidarity with Raif Badawi and all those demanding freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia. We condemn the inhuman punishment being meted out to him as we condemn all measures that punish people for defending human rights and sharing their thoughts.

We ask that Saudi Arabia:

  • Immediately suspend the punishment of Raif Badawi,
  • Release Raif Badawi and provide him security,
  • Take measures towards the provision of full freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia

Submitted by:

Ravi Nitesh, Peoples Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
Dipak Dholakia
Rajashri Dasgupta
Prithvi R Sharma
Rana P Behal
Shamsul Islam
Suman Keshari
Aseem Shrivastava
Viren Lobo
Sabyasachi Bhattacharya
Kashif Ahmed Faraz
R.Sasankan, Journalist, Delhi
Rohit Sharma, Pilani, India
Mandeep Singh from Revolutionary Youth Student Front
Firoz Ahmad, Public School Teacher
Chaman Lal
J.S.Bandukwala
Devika Mittal (Mission Bhartiyam)
Apoorvanand
Sudha Vasan
Dheeraj Gaba
Nawed Akhter
Dilip Simeon
Shabnam Hashmi
Rohini Hensman
Ovais Sultan Khan
Ram Puniyani
Vinerjeet Kaur
Kiran Shaheen
Battini Rao, Convener, Peoples Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)
Javed Anand
Harsh Kapoor
Subash Mohapatra, Global Human Rights Communications, Bhubaneswar
Sagar Rabari, Ahmedabad
Nayanjyoti
Shailendra Dhar, Journalist
Nihal Parashar
Linus Ayangwoh Embe
Peter Marshall
Sudarshan juyal
Dhruv Singhal (Political Science student)
Mohammad Imran, NRISAHI
Suresh Bhat
Prof. S Ratnagar, Mumbai
Ilma iqbal
Michael Karadjis
Vasantharajan, Research Scholar
Rabin Chakraborty
Shruti Arora
Hiren Gandhi
Anand Patwardhan
Dr. D. Gabriele
Mukul Mangalik
Neeraj Malik, academic
Suhas Borker
Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai
Kasim Sait
Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
Kaveri Rajaraman, University of Hyderabad
Parth Sarthu
Ram
Mahesh Elkunchwar
Suman Kumar
Kamayani Bali Mahabal
Syed Ghazanfar Abbas
Jawad Mohammed
Prof Anil Sadgopal, Shiksha Adhikar Manch, Bhopal
Satya Pal, Secretary General - South Asian Fraternity
Deepak Kabir / Veena Rana, Dastak, Lucknow
Madhu Sarin
Kavita Panjabi, Kolkata
Xavier Dias Editor Khan Kaneej aur ADHIKAR Jharkhand India
Muhammad Murad, from Pakistan, Sindh
Sanjay Halder
Gurpreet Singh
Ravi Tripathi
Francis Gonsalves
subhash gatade, New Socialist Initiative
Shahid siddiqui
P.I. Jose
Ishwarbhai Prajapati
deepak kabir
Fr. T.K.John , Professor
Rohan Dandavate - TPI , WORD.
Daniel Varghese
Sanjay T
Prasanth menon
Zakia Soman and Dr. Noorjehan SN from Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
Antony Aruloraj, New Delhi, India
Aarti Tikoo
Ashish Biswas, Online Journalist, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Devaki Khanna
Alok Chadha
Renu Singh
samir dholakia
Mushtaq Dar
Narinder Singh Sandhu
P R Vaidya, Bombay
Dr V Prasad
Ameeque Jamei
Padma Velaskar
Bhanu Bharti

see the original PDF version on PADS headed note paper

INDIA: CITIZEN’s APPEAL FOR RELEASE OF RAIF BADAWI, A SAUDI BLOGGER
Released by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism [India] (June, 2015)
Those wishing to endorse the above appeal and add their names should use this form: http://goo.gl/forms/XfkXA7mb9k