Saudi consulate protest for human rights and freedom for political prisoners

| October 1, 2019 | Reply

A protest calling for human rights, free speech and the release of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia will be held on Wednesday, 2 October, 12.30 -1.30 outside the Sydney consulate, 89 York Street, Sydney.

The protest is being held on the anniversary of the murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a year ago. It also comes a few days following the suspicious shooting death of Abdulaziz Al-Faghm, a prominent bodyguard, to the Saudi King Salman.

Speakers at the protest will include: Sawa’a Human Rights Organization that has initiated the protest; Save the Children Australia, Simon Henderson; Australian Arab Journalists Association, Husain Aldirani; Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, Ghassan Khamis.

In March 2019, a leaked report on political prisoners (many of them women) in Saudi Arabia said they were suffering from malnutrition, cuts, bruises and burns. The report follows similar revelations in November 2018 that female prisoners had been subjected to solitary confinement, electric shocks and lashings.

In April this year, the Saudi regime was widely condemned after the regime reported the beheading of 37 prisoners, including three who were minors when they were arrested.

There are at least 30 journalists and bloggers among the political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, including, Essam Koshak, an activist and computer engineer who was arrested in January 2017 for speaking out against the male guardianship system on Twitter. Essam was sentenced to four years in prison followed by a four-year travel ban.

Despite the kingdom lifting the notorious ban on women driving in 2018, a number of women political prisoners remain in jail, arrested for organising human and women’s rights protests and opposing the repressive male guardianship system which enforces male control and requires women to have the consent of male relatives and husbands for life decision and even to travel.

The male guardianship system was in the headlines in Australia in February this year, when the Four Corners program reported at least two women Saudi asylum seekers were turned back from Sydney airport. There were also allegations that that Australian Border Force officers had stopped and questioned Saudi women who were travelling alone.

Australia’s Home Affairs department cancelled the entry visa of Saudi teenager, Rahaf al-Qunun, in February this year when they learned she was fleeing Saudi Arabia and intended to claim asylum in Australia. The visa cancellation stranded her in Bangkok airport. Canada accepted her as refugee a few days later.

“The repression and human rights abuses continue in Saudi Arabia,” said Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Border Force should stop doing the dirty work for the Saudi regime, and welcome Saudi asylum seekers and make sure their protection claims are speedily processed.”

The Australian government has also come under fire for approving the export of weapons systems to Saudi Arabia while the kingdom is waging a devastating war in Yemen.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Category: Press releases

Leave a Reply