UN Experts Strongly Criticize Saudi Arabia Over Badawi

A group of United Nations Special Rapporteurs has issued a statement strongly criticizing Saudi Arabia over the brutal sentence handed down against Raif Badawi for nothing more than expressing the fact that he’s an atheist and creating a platform to allow others to do so.

A group of United Nations human rights experts today expressed alarm at the conviction to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a 1 million Saudi riyal fine against Saudi online activist and blogger, Raef Badawi.

“This outrageous conviction should be overturned and Mr. Badawi immediately released,” said the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, Heiner Bielefeldt, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, the Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mads Andenas.

“Mr. Badawi is a prisoner of conscience, who has been convicted for peacefully expressing his views on religious and other issues,” they added.

The United Nations experts also urged the Government of Saudi Arabia to “embark on more comprehensive reforms to bring their judicial system in compliance with international standards.”

The human rights experts stressed that “Mr. Badawi was imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression” and recalled the right of all people to “freely manifest their views in matters of religion or belief and to write, issue and disseminate information and ideas in these areas through any media without interference.”

They expressed further concern that “the detention and charges brought against Mr. Badawi appear to be part of an ongoing practice of prosecution against people who publicly express dissenting religious views in Saudi Arabia.”

All absolutely accurate. But it would probably be more consistent if the United Nations didn’t appoint Saudi Arabia to a spot on the UN Human Rights Council along with several other countries that are equally barbaric in their treatment of religious minorities.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • laurentweppe

    “This outrageous conviction should be overturned and Mr. Badawi immediately released,”

    What? And make the regime look weak? Badawi’s case stem from the House of Saud having little more than the Argumentum ad Baculum to justify its ongoing existence. Take away the threat of nightmarish retribution and the regime falls before year’s end.

  • colnago80

    Re weppe @ #1

    Hey weppe, time to get out while the getting is good.


  • jba55

    “the right of all people to “freely manifest their views in matters of religion or belief”

    So if you don’t think rights come from a god, as I’m assuming Mr Brayton and most of the commentors here (including myself) believe, then where does this universal right come from? As far as I can tell rights are a creation of society and if a particular society doesn’t grant a right then the people living in it don’t have it. Should they have it? Absolutely. But it seems like the claim falls victim to the is/ought fallacy.