For Shame, Saudi Arabia

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. Ambrose Bierce.
How’s this for a kick in the teeth of civilization?
Saudi Arabia was last month elected to chair a high-profile UN Human Rights Council panel that’s responsible for determining international human rights standards and reporting on violations around the world.

So what’s wrong with that? It’s old news anyway.

Saudi Arabia still routinely arrests, beheads, flogs, maims and imprisons human beings for simply expressing themselves freely. And they have this thing about women. Won’t even allow them to drive.

I’ve written previously about Raif Badawi who already received 50 of the 1000-lash sentence, and is still imprisoned for the ludicrous crime of expressing himself through writing. Now there is grave concern for 74-year old Karl Andree, a UK citizen who was arrested for having home-made wine in his possession. Karl has already completed a one year prison sentence and still has a 360-lash sentence hanging over his head.

These are but two examples of the many human rights violations this miserable desert kingdom has incurred. There will be many more. One has to wonder whether the UN thinks it’s more important to have Saudi oil, or human rights.

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch frames it perfectly:

Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi. This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council that already counts Russia, Cuba, China, Qatar and Venezuela among its elected members.

Update: More Shame

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is about 20 years old is still languishing in a Saudi prison and faces death by beheading. As if that’s not barbaric enough, the sentence includes him being crucified thereafter.

Ali was convicted for participating in the Arab Spring protests when he was still only 17 years old. I don’t know what’s worse – the sick judicial system that sentences a 17-year old kid to death by beheading, or the insane Sharia law that requires his dead body be tortured thereafter?

Write For Rights – Free Raif Badawi

Saudi Arabia may have lots of oil and sand, but is seriously lacking in humanity.

Life is fleeting and precious, so it should be an imperative for humans to look out for each other. But religious madness more often than not demands that the poorly interpreted decrees of an invisible deity be held in higher reverence than human well-being and life itself. Such is life under Saudi Sharia law.

Raif Badawi, A Saudi national was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison and a thousand lashes. His crime – “daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.” And according to the authorities, he is guilty of one other crime, one that is considered – no declared – an act of terrorism in Saudi Arabia; he is an atheist.

Badawi started a website writing blogs that called for religious tolerance and women’s rights. However the kingdom, no doubt spurred on by demented fundamentalist religious leaders hell-bent on perpetuating the inhuman Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam, declared this act (one all rational people would call noble) to be insulting to Islam.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness about the gross human rights violations perpetrated by despotic rulers (no doubt religion is a very useful tool), which includes a petition to free Badawi, Amnesty International released this moving clip of his daughter writing to him in prison.

For further reading on the despicable system of justice in Saudi Arabia, look no further than Wikipedia.