CODEPINK Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2014
Human Rights Activists Stage Mock Flogging in Front of Saudi Embassy and say No Flogging for Blogging: Protest Persecution of Activists, Writers and Women Drivers
Where: Embassy of Saudi Arabia, 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW DC
When: Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 1:00pm
Washington, DC –– Activists from CODEPINK and the Gulf Institute will gather in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy at 1:00PM on Thursday, January 15th to stage a simulated public flogging in protest of the persecution and punishment of Saudi activist Raif Badawi. Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes simply for publishing a blog criticizing the Saudi monarchy. Badawi’s punishment is to be carried out in increments of 50. The first 50 lashes were inflicted on January 9th and the second are expected to occur on the morning of Friday, January 16th. Badawi is married and is the father of three young children.
Activists will also be protesting the sentencing of prominent human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair to serve 15 years in prison and the persecution of women for driving. Human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair, founder and director of the NGO Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA), was sentenced for inciting public opinion against authorities.
“Torture-by-flogging should be banned, and its perpetrators listed as human rights criminals,” said Ali Al-Ahmed, Saudi scholar and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs.
“As human rights activists, we condemn flogging as a barbaric punishment, and we condemn the persecution of activists who are simply exercising their right to freedom of speech,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. “Saudi Arabia should be held accountable on the international stage for their perpetual violations of human rights, and it’s time for the United States to sever its cozy relationship with this repressive monarchy.”
Activists will also protest the persecution of Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysa al-Amoudi for attempting to drive from the kingdom to the United Arab Emirates. The cases against both women have been referred to a court that regularly tries cases of terrorism. “The persecution of these women is abhorrent; woman shouldn’t be charged with terrorism for driving,” says CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski.