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This post is an URGENT request for all concerned human rights, social justice and pro-democracy activists in all over the world to unite to save the life of the progressive faith leader Sheikh Nemr Al-Nemr who has been in Saudi prisons since almost a year. The next court hearing will be this Monday, April 29, 2013. During the last court hearing the prosecutor demanded that Al-Nemr would be facing death penalty (in the form of crucifixion) for the following charges:
1. Instigating sectarianism
2. Breaching the national unity
3. Betraying the country
4. Defaming the rulers and religious clerics in the Gulf States
5. Encouraging his supporters to break the law
While the next court session is within few days, neither his family nor his lawyer has received an official list of the charges. However, the charges and the sentence were on the media. It is very crucial to at least let his lawyer defend him during the next court session. All of the above charges are nothing, but false accusations used to attack Al-Nemr and silence all similar voices of oppositions.
Well, let’s look at all of the following charges:
1. “Instigating sectarianism,” means demanding equality and being against the state’s discrimination exercised on religious minorities in Saudi Arabia.
2. “Breaching the national unity,” means participating in peaceful pro-democracy protests.
3. “Betraying the country,” means defending all political detainees and prisoners of conscience.
4. “Defaming the rulers and religious clerics in the Gulf States,” means demanding an end to the ongoing systematic oppression. It also means being a progressive faith leader.
5. “Encouraging his supporters to break the law,” means encouraging men and women to participate in peaceful protests.
The above are not just mere speculations, but they are based on what Al-Nemr taught, spoke and preached at all times. Despite the regime’s
systematic oppression, he continuously insisted that all protests and resistance must be peaceful. He preached that the “roar of word” is stronger than the state’s bullets.
What can we do to help Al-Nemr?
- Spread awareness in our communities
- Be in touch with human rights organizations
- Be in touch with other activists working on the case
- Urge your governments to call on the Saudi government to release Al-Nemr and other prisoners of conscience
- Urge the Saudi government, by contacting Saudi embassies and consulates, to release Al-Nemr and other prisoners of conscience. This includes letter writing and organizing protests or rallies
- Post solidarity photos on Twitter
- Use Twitter and other social media platforms to advocate for Al-Nemr’s case
For reference, please listen carefully to Al-Nemr’s words (there are English subtitles) on non-violent resistance and the culture of peace:
Also I would suggest having a look at Amnesty International’s statement at the time of the arbitrary arrest of Al-Nemr last year:
For more current information on Al-Nemr, and the pro-democracy protests, check out my article on the Socialist Worker (Canada):
Please don’t hesitate to post comments or ask questions about Al-Nemr. Your solidarity is needed.
The right to live is a human right.
The Arms Trade Treaty is the name of a potential multilateral treaty that would regulate the international trade in conventional weapons. Those are weapons ranging from warships and battle tanks to fighter jets and machine guns. Being aware and supportive of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) open statement at the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 57), I am also supporting the Arms Trade Treaty and I think that it is a step forward in abolishing the war.
To fully understand the issue, I attended the meeting “The Arms Trade Treaty: expectations for the endgame” on March 6. Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations Relations organized the meeting in cooperation with Office of Disarmament affairs. The meeting was very important for me and there are many insights to share.
The United Nations Conference on Arms Trade Treaty was held on 2-27 July 2012 in New York. No treaty text was produced. The United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty will take place on 18-28 March (a week from now). The conference will build on the work done in July 2012.
Having this treaty agreed upon by state members is very crucial. Senior Political Affairs Officer in the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Antonio Emanuel Evora said: “The General Assembly has no patience on this and wants the treaty to be concluded now.” I was very pleased to hear that. Currently, there is no international regulation on arms. Having such treaty will be a revolutionary action to eliminate war. According to Evora, not all states are enthusiastic about the treaty. Being said, it is obvious that the largest arms exporters and their trade partners are putting obstacles in the treaty’s path.
In conflict zones the vulnerable individuals are the ones who are most brutally affected. In most cases, those are women and children. The Director of Amnesty International’s representative office at the United Nations in New York Jose Luis Diaz said that women are greatly affected in places where unregulated arms trade exists. He also mentioned some of the biggest exporters and importers of arms. For instance, United States is one of the biggest exporters of arms and Saudi Arabia is considered to be one of the importers of arms. Many of the arms imported used in crackdown against dissidents and peaceful protestors such as in Bahrain. Being one of the largest exporters of arms, it seems that United States has a problematic position on ammunitions. Diaz explained Amnesty Internationals position and its stand. He said that Amnesty International mandates that the Arms Trade Treaty must also include the transfer of arms (not only trade).
When weapons are in the wrong hands, human rights violations become a norm. All of us know this fact, however we should not forget that the biggest arms exporters are Western countries. Therefore, I see that the only solution to pass this treaty is to urge governments and petition them for regulation. Today, trading bananas is more regulated than the arms trade. This is shocking, but we can all take action to change the situation. This will be our first step in the path of abolishing war and thus, saving lives of many women who are at risk in conflict zones.
Amongst the prisoners of conscience in Bahrain are university students who have not committed any crime. They are innocent. It’s essential to save them. One of the students is Jassim Al Hulaibi. Al Hulaibi was a student at Bahrain Teachers College. He had an excellent academic record. Instead of honoring this student for his excellent conduct and for his academic record, he is now in prison. He has been in prison since more than a year ago and was sentenced to 15 years.
It all started on March 13, 2011 when pro-democracy students protested in the university. Al Hulaibi was not with them. He was injured, and could not go to university. There are medical reports prove that.
On March 27, 2011 police raided Al Hulaibi’s home at 2 am and arbitrarily arrested him. They were beating him as they took him forcefully in the car. His family didn’t know his whereabouts for more than one month. Al Hulaibi was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The charges are: attempting murder, intimidating others, and vandalizing the university on March 13, 2011. Confessions were taken under torture. AL HULAIBI WAS NOT THERE AT UNIVERSITY ON THAT SPECIFIC DAY. He was injured as a result of a government forces attack on a peaceful protest in his neighborhood, and it would be impossible for him to leave to university or to walk with his injured leg.
Al Hulaibi is not the only student wrongly imprisoned in Bahrain. Please help us in freeing Al Hulaibi and other political prisoners.
Please sign the petition to help Jassim and other prisoners of conscience in Bahrain