CODEPINK Expert on Saudi Arabia, Medea Benjamin, available for interview on Trump’s Trip

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For Immediate Release: May 16, 2017

Medea Benjamin, author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection and organizer of the groundbreaking Washington DC Summit to Challenge US-Saudi Relations, medea.benjamin@gmail.com, 415-235-6517

Benjamin is available to speak on Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia. “It’s remarkable that President Trump’s first trip abroad is to a repressive regime engaged in a catastrophic war in neighboring Yemen and known for exporting the very extremism, intolerance and violence that Trump purports to eradicate,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin’s expertise includes the following:

  • Lack of freedom in Saudi Arabia. “Criticizing the Saudi regime can lead to flogging, long jail sentences or even beheading. Tragic examples are Raif Badawi, languishing in prison for blogging; attorney Waleed Abulkhair, serving a 15-year sentence for defending human rights; and Ali al-Nimr, arrested as a minor, now on death row for nonviolent dissent.”
  • Discrimination against women. “Saudi Arabia is the most misogynist, gender-segregated country in the world. Women are not even allowed to drive and must live under a guardianship system that gives men authority over the most important decisions in their lives.”
  • Repression of religious minorities. “The kingdom is a theocratic Sunni monarchy that commits systematic repression against non-Sunni Muslims. It is the only country in the world to ban all churches, and atheism is a capital offense.”
  • Oil and weapons: the toxic basis of US-Saudi ties. “The US military protects the Saudi regime because of its oil, and Saudi Arabia has become the number one weapons purchaser of US weapons. Trump wants to up that with a massive $100 billion weapons deal and a Saudi pledge to invest $40 billion in the U.S. economy—further tying our nation to this theocracy.”
  • Spread of extremism. “The Saudis export their extremist version of Islam, Wahhabism, and have provided funding and support for extremist groups from ISIS to Al Nusra.”
  • War in Yemen. “With a Yemeni child dying every 10 minutes from the consequences of war, particularly the Saudi bombings, Trump should be insisting on a ceasefire and talks, not promising more support for Saudi war crimes.”

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