Proposal: Saudi Arabia Release Human Rights Defenders



The test to best measure the level of sophistication and viability of a country may well be how it responds to the champions of the nation’s most challenged or oppressed members of society. A civil society women’s group has put a proposal to Saudi Arabia on the table.

 by Melissa Hemingway, Feminine Perspective Magazine, Senior Staff Writer

Free Aziza al-Yousef . Meet another genuine hero. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons: Joodymuhd 

Aziza al-Yousef is a female human rights defender. According to Wikipedia she taught computer science at King Saud University for 28 years before retiring. In 2013, al-Yousef was arrested in Saudi Arabia along with fellow activist Eman al-Nafjan for driving through Riyadh. They were forced to sign a pledge that they would not drive again. In 2013, al-Youssef launched a global awareness campaign following the rape of 5-year girl by her father, a Saudi cleric.

In 2016, Aziza al-Yousef  helped to lead a campaign against the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia. According to al-Jazeera she “attempted to deliver to the Royal Advisory Council a 14,700-signature petition seeking to abolish the guardianship regulations but she was turned away and told to mail it.

Around 15-18 May 2018, al-Yousef was detained by Saudi authorities, along with Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, Aisha Almane, Madeha al-Ajroush and two men involved in women’s rights campaigning. See list below.

Currently Saudi Arabia imprisons many of its best critical thinkers, the Washington post has speculated on numerous occasions since it’s intellectual columnist Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Saudi Consulate of Istanbul on 2 October.

The RINJ Foundation Steps Up with an Offer

Feminine Perspective Magazine‘s publisher, The RINJ Foundation, a Civil Society women’s group, has asked the Saudi Arabian government with Donald Trump’s help to release the persons listed below, without condition,  because it says that they are imprisoned for crimes that do not exist but that are actually human rights.

Listening to RINJ board members Mrs. Deborah Mishal and Mrs. Jhen Allaga, one can hear the passion in their voices. According to Mishal, the most common charge in the following group comes down to “insult to the Royal Family members by comment on social media”.

Other “crimes”(?)  include “basically writing the wrong words in an article, things that Mohammad bin Salmon believes are a challenge to his God-like authority,” says Allaga.

These so-called crimes are actually “the universally accepted exercise of basic human rights to free speech”, noted Mrs. Mishal.

The List of Persons RINJ Wants Immediately Released

  • Abdullah Al Malki, academic and citizen-journalist
  • Abdulaziz Meshaal, human rights defender.
  • Alaa Brinji, journalist for Al-Sharq, El Bilad and Okaz
  • *Aisha al-Mana, female human rights defender,  director of the Al-Mana General Hospitals and the Mohammad al-Mana College of Health Sciences. She is a feminist who has participated both in demonstrations against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and in the anti male-guardianship campaign. The RINJ Foundation wants charges dropped for this woman. She has been released mid year.
  • Ali Al Omari, founder of the 4Shabab TV channel
  • Aziza al-Yousef, female human rights defender
  • Eman al Nafjan, women’s rights activist, founder of the Saudi Woman blog is a school teacher and later a university teaching assistant. She earned a master’s degree in teaching English as a foreign language from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. She then taught pre-med English at a university. She was working towards a PhD in linguistics. She was detained by Saudi authorities in May 2018
  • Essam Al Zamil, economist and citizen-journalist
  • Fadhel al Manafes, a citizen-journalist and human rights defender
  • Hatoon al-Fassi was an associate professor of women’s history at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, where she was employed since 1989 and at the International Affairs Department at Qatar University.  Al-Fassi claims from her research into the pre-Islamic Arabian kingdom of Nabataea that women in the kingdom had more independence than women in modern Saudi Arabia. She was arrested in June 2018 for believing this.
  • Ibrahim al-Modaimeegh, human rights defender.
  • Israa al-Ghomgham, human rights defender, columnist, citizen journalist, blogger
  • Jamil Farsi, businessman and columnist for several Saudi newspapers, including Okaz; much followed on Twitter
  • Loujain al-Hathloul, female human rights defender
  • *Madeha al-Ajroush, female human rights defender took part in the first protests by Saudi women against the ban on women driving. The RINJ Foundation wants charges dropped for this woman. She has been released mid year.
  • Malek al Ahmad, editor of several media outlets, founder of Al Mohayed (“The Neutral One“)
  • Mayya al-Zahrani was reportedly arrested on Saturday, hours after posting comments online on the arrest of fellow activist Nouf Abdulaziz
  • Mohammed Saud al Bishar, reporter and columnist, including for the Saudi newspaper Twasul
  • Nassema al Sadah, women’s rights activist and columnist
  • Nazir al Majid, writer and journalist for various media including Al Hayat et Al Sharq
  • Nouf Abdelaziz al Jerawi, journalist, blogger and activist
  • Raif Badawi, blogger, founder of the Saudi Liberal Network (an online forum)
  • Saleh al Shehi, journalist with Al Watan

  • Samar Badawi, is an extraordinary and internationally recognized human rights defender. She was arrested by the Saudi authorities again May. Canada’s request for her immediate release sparked a major diplomatic dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia.

  • Salman al Awdah, reformist preacher and blogger with many followers
  • Waleed Abu al Khair, founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

FootNote: *Madeha al-Ajroush and *Aisha al-Mana have since May 18 been released but with charges pending. The RINJ Foundation keeps these names on the list because the women’s group is insisting that what Saudi has mistakenly described as “crimes” are in fact human rights.

FREE former University of British Columbia student (Canada) Loujain Alhathloul  (dob 31 July 1989) Photo By Submitted – via OTRS system, CC BY-SA 4.0

 

Saudi Arabia must release human rights defenders the victims of an opaque and arbitrary judicial system.FREE: Israa al Ghomgham. Her case was to come up on 28 October before a Judge in Saudi Arabia’s secret terrorist court system. – Photo is Riyadh TV Screen Capture

The people of the globe need to see Saudi Arabia as a civilized and sophisticated nation, not one that imprisons its human rights defenders like a band of of old thuggish cavemen who are losing grip on power to pervasive inteligencia.

Currently the latter is the case.

“The rest of the world will welcome the day when countries can no longer hold the world at ransom with the fear of oil and gas shortages or price gouging that clobbers financial markets. Nobody trusts the oil industry. Nobody trusts Saudi Arabia. So why doesn’t Civil Society help fix that and do a better job of teaching? We will do our part,” says RINJ’s Allaga.

She points out that the RINJ women’s request is not made in a vacuum.

The world is watching. The United Nations in mid-2018 asked Saudi Arabia to unconditionally release all human rights defenders and activists who have been detained for their peaceful human rights work, including their decades-long campaigns for the lifting of the driving ban for women,” added the RINJ’s Allaga.

Michelle Obama (left) and Hillary Clinton (right) pose with Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia as she receives the 2012 International Women of Courage Award (AFP)Free Samar Badawi: Her little son and daughter want her home.  First Lady Michelle Obama (left) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) pose with Samar Badawi (now imprisoned) of Saudi Arabia as she receives the 2012 International Women of Courage Award. Photo Credit: US State department Photo. 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that at least 28 other journalists are currently in prison in Saudi Arabia, the victims of an opaque and arbitrary judicial system. Free these Journalists: Reporters Without Borders says 28 Journalists are held in Saudi Prisons.  Photo Credit: RSF 

RINJ Makes an Extraordinary Offer to Mohammad bin Salman

 

From the Civil Society Women’s Group’s Website: 

The RINJ Foundation offers at no charge to the Saudi Arabia leadership, free sensitivity training and counseling on how to facilitate a gender-parity environment for Saudi Arabia’ s people, aimed at increasing prosperity, improving wealth distribution, and providing lucrative business alternatives for the entire nation. Contact us.