CODEPINK Press Release
Contact: Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, 415 235 6517, [email protected]
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Coordinator, 860 575 5692, [email protected]
CODEPINK to protest mass beheadings in Saudi Arabia at the Saudi Embassy in DC
Where: Saudi Arabia Embassy, 601 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
When: Thursday, December 3, at 2:00pm
Visuals: Impersonator of King Salman, photos of prisoners, staged fake beheadings, and a die-in to commemorate victims in Saudi Arabia and victims of the Saudi war on Yemen
Washington, DC- The peace group CODEPINK will stage a demonstration at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington DC on Thursday, December 3 at 2:00pm to protest the Saudi government’s announcement that it plans to execute over 50 people before the end of the year under the pretense of ‘counter-terrorism’. The number of executions in Saudi Arabia in 2015 has already reached 151, a number quickly catching up with the Kingdom’s annual record of 192, documented by Amnesty International in 1995. CODEPINK activists deplore this barbaric form of capital punishment and the kingdom’s practice of sentencing people to death for peaceful protests and other nonviolent actions. Saudi Arabia is also engaged in a horrific and bloody war on Yemen that protesters believe must be stopped immediately.
The Saudi government recently sentenced Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh to death for making “blasphemous” statements during a discussion group and in one of his poetry books. Ashraf’s supporters believe he is being punished by the government for posting a video online showing the religious police (Mutaween) lashing a man in public; some also think he has been targeted because he is a Palestinian refugee, although he was born in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s outrageous that this close US ally beheads people for peaceful protests, for the content of their poetry, and for low-level nonviolent offenses,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. “We call on the Saudi government to cease its barbaric capital punishment, respect the human rights of its citizens and release peaceful protesters and political prisoners.”
“US taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars on military measures in the Persian Gulf over the last four decades. There is no reason to keep spending tens of billions of dollars a year to defend monarchies with horrific human rights records that behead hundreds of its own citizens and routinely attack or interfere in neighboring countries," says Ali Al Ahmed, the Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs.