Saudi Arabia threatens harsh action against critics of its laws

Saudi Arabia threatens harsh action against critics of its laws

Following the death sentence recently imposed by a Saudi court on Palestinian artist Ashraf Fayadh, above, the Saudi Justice Ministry said it plans to file a case against someone who wrote on Twitter that Fayadh’s sentence was “IS-like”.

According to this report, an an unnamed official said the Justice Ministry:

Vows to take all necessary legal measures against any person or media outlet that insults the judiciary or compares its rulings to IS.

The official said questioning the kingdom’s justice system is essentially to question the justice of Islamic law.

Meanwhile, the artist is reported as sayingthat he is not an atheist and that his case centres around a personal dispute he had with a college student.

In an interview with Mecca Online from inside a prison in Abha, the southwestern city where he has been held since January 2014, Fayadh said a Saudi college student he knew filed a complaint to religious police accusing him of being an atheist and trying to spread atheism through a book of poetry he wrote.

Religious police detained Fayadh for a few hours after the complaint was filed and then released him, he said.

Fayadh said his poetry book was then sent to a council of clerics for their assessment of its content. The council deemed parts of the book atheistic. He said the Arabic book, called Instructions Within, was published in Lebanon in 2008 and has not been published in Saudi Arabia.

I am not an atheist and it is impossible that I could be. The judgment against me was based on the testimony of this student. The terminology I am condemned for is not even in the book, but the accusation against me was based on wrong interpretations for some of the poems.

Fayadh plans to appeal the verdict, which means the case will likely be tossed back to the appeals court and then the Supreme Court. There are no known cases in recent years of executions for apostasy in Saudi Arabia, despite such verdicts.

International human rights groups have condemned his sentencing. The Palestinian government, the General Union of Arab Writers and The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information are calling for his release.

22 responses to “Saudi Arabia threatens harsh action against critics of its laws”

  1. Gerald says:

    You see in the Islamic world it’s easy to get your way…

    If you dislike someone or desire the property belonging to someone or have been rejected in love all you need to do is to level the accusation of insulting Islamic sensitivities. Hey presto …. You get what you want.

  2. Newspaniard says:

    I am quite happy to equate the Saudi justice system with the barbarity of IS. Are they now going to send someone to Spain to “lean on me” or just wait until they have islamized the country?

  3. sailor1031 says:

    Not a word from Obama who is normally so concerned about human rights in countries he defines as enemies and threats – such as Syria or Russia. But no; in fact he is quite happy to cooperate with the saudi barbarians to destabilize and overthrow sovereign countries in the service of some crazy american hegemonic ideology. He isn’t even embarassed apparently to publicly call the saudi monsters allies while seeming blind to the obvious fact that they are our principal enemy in the world.

    Yes Newspaniard, come the (islamic) revolution comrade it’ll be the whipping post – for all of us in fact!

  4. L.Long says:

    This the problem with ALL dogmatic gov’mints!!!
    How do you know when a law or ruling is immoral?
    By criticism &discussion, but when you have dogma (word of gawd or some such) then nothing can be improved, it can only be made worse. In fact try showing me any dogmatic system that has never got worse???

  5. Gerald says:

    How does the “house of saudi” execute people?

  6. Michael Glass says:

    It’s nice to know that a comment on Twitter can make the Saudi government so twitchy!

  7. barriejohn says:

    Ex-LibDem leader, Paddy Ashdown, got himself into really deep water when he suggested that David Cameron’s (and Prince Charles’s) chums, the Saudis, might not be totally opposed to IS:

    We all need to realize that these are deeply sensitive individuals, whose feelings must be taken into consideration before rash comments are made!

  8. barriejohn says:

    The Saudis ARE going to execute at least fifty “terrorists”, but, as is quite clear, their definition of terrorism may leave much to be desired:

    Ali al-Nimr was only 17 when he was arrested for taking part in pro-democracy protests and was 18-years-old when he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

    Saudi authorities said he had broken his loyalty to the country’s king, Salman.

    But Ali’s supporters say he was forced to sign a confession after days of torture in custody.

    The case has drawn international condemnation, and was mentioned by Jeremy Corbyn at his first party conference speech where he urged David Cameron to get involved.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Foreign Office lawyers are also warning that Britain may leave itself open to war crimes prosecution over the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which has been carrying out indiscriminate bombing in Yemen:

  10. AgentCormac says:

    And no prizes for guessing what motivated this guy in the US who murdered three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

  11. Stuart H. says:

    Actually, I’d have said that comparing the Saudis to ISIS lets them off the hook.
    ISIS are free range, off the scale nutters. Even if they were offered a place at the United Nations or invited to lead an international body to determine standards for human rights they are not going to take it up. The Saudis have pretensions to being a nation state – even if not a democratic one. We’re supposed to take their representatives seriously at the UN, we’re supposed to see giving them a turn chairing a human rights body as only fair.
    So when their justice system is shown up, again and again, as totally inadequate and bigoted we have every right to demand that they either get serious or get rejected from every international assembly of civilised nations.
    I was always told that its a legal doctrine that those who demand justice have to demonstrate clean hands when they come to court. On that basis, the proper reaction of any judge in the UK (and it will be the UK) in whose court the Saudis try to press such a charge should be “We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram”.

  12. Angela_K says:

    Stuart H. The very funny Arkell v. Pressdram,some time ago. Good old Private Eye.

    How much of the obscene amount of money that goes in “Foreign aid” pays for despotic countries to support our arms dealers – most owned by the Tories and their chums?

  13. barriejohn says:

    Some visitors are not going to know what we are talking about here.

    In the case of Arkell v. Pressdram (1971), the plaintiff was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, and the magazine had ample evidence to back up the article. Arkell’s lawyers wrote a letter which concluded: “His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply.” The magazine responded: “We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell’s attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off.” In the years following, the magazine would refer to this exchange as a euphemism for a blunt and coarse dismissal: for example, “We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram”. As with “tired and emotional” this usage has spread beyond the magazine.

    Private Eye was just about the only publication prepared to stand up to Robert Maxwell, and paid a heavy price for it. How ironic in the light of later events!

  14. Rob Andrews says:

    I work for Amnesty International. I’ve been writiung letters for political prisoners for over 15 years. What really bothers me is how they look like ‘western countries’justice. That is: appeals courts; courts of cassation; and a supreme court above all, subject to a constitution…Pretty good!

    But actually I admire countries like North Korea more, that don’t bother with all that legal bull shit.Thet just kill you straight away.

    “When I hear people defend slavery on moral grounds, it makes me want to move to a country like Russia where tyrany is served straight. Without the watering down of hypocracy”–Abraham Lincoln

  15. Stephen Mynett says:

    It seems there may be some good news for Raif Badawi, the Swiss and German press are reporting his sentence has been suspended and a royal pardon is likely.

  16. AgentCormac says:

    @Stephen Mynett
    Unfortunately I was never taught German at school, so I can’t read the article you linked to. But of what you say is true that is brilliant news!!

  17. barriejohn says:

    What we need is someone with the gift of tongues!

  18. Rob Andrews says:

    I don’t have the gift of tongues; but I can tell jokes. Sometimes I have to laugh to stop from being sick at this kind of dark age nonsence. So here are two jokes I got from the web somewhere.

    Two signs at the Saudi Arabian border crossing:

    Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1300 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.
    Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Set your watches back 1300 years.

  19. Brian Jordan says:

    As long as they don’t also “speak in tongues” or we won’t know what they’re saying anyway!

  20. Stephen Mynett says:

    The bad news is there seems to be nothing following up the Raif Badawi story today. I find the German media usually a better source than UK papers but they still print a load of rubbish as well. I hope this article was not just based on wishful thinking.

  21. dennis says:

    do we have to remind our selves that 15 of the 19 9/11 bombers were Saudi. yet the oil is so important to us we turn a blind eye.