Amnesty International: Human rights progress in Saudi Arabia remains grim

Paris, SANA- “Nearly 100 days after King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud came to power in Saudi Arabia prospects for human rights progress in the Kingdom remain grim,” said Amnesty International as widespread violations continue unabated.

“Instead of taking steps to improve Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has presided over an ongoing crackdown on government critics and peaceful activists, who continue to be intimidated, arbitrarily detained and treated as criminals,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of Middle East and North Africa Program.

Luther added “The first months of his reign have also been marked by an unprecedented wave of executions in a clear signal that the use of the death penalty is thriving in the Kingdom.”

Soon after King Salman came to power Amnesty International wrote to him with a number of key human rights recommendations. In particular, the organization called for the release of dozens of imprisoned human rights defenders, reformists, dissidents and activists, yet they received no response, Luther said.

The Amnesty International, France Branch is organizing a gathering in Paris next Thursday in support of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.

For its part, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Organization said in a statement, in a comment on the visit of French President Francois Hollande to Saudi Arabia, it is an opportunity that must be seized by Hollande to request Badawi’s release.

“It is inconceivable that France could continue saying nothing about the barbaric sentence imposed on this young blogger, who could at any time be retried for apostasy and sentenced to death,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

The Saudi authorities launch a campaign of suppressing freedoms, arresting and torturing activists and members of the opposition. Saudi regime also represses women as Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which forbids women from driving.

R. al-Jazaeri/ Barry

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