Three ways you can help prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia

Dozens of activists, human rights defenders, writers and lawyers are behind bars in Saudi Arabia. Here’s how you can help them.

Raif Badawi

Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was detained in June 2012 and sentenced in 2014 for setting up a website focused on social and political debate. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. When Saudi Arabian authorities first flogged him on 9 January 2015, our supporters around the world rose up, driving global condemnation of the authorities and demanding his release and that of all other prisoners of conscience. He has not been flogged since then.

Over the past three years, our supporters have tirelessly campaigned outside Saudi Arabian embassies worldwide, held candlelit vigils, fired off tweets targeting the Saudi Arabian authorities. You have also written hundreds of thousands of letters and solidarity messages demanding Raif and all other prisoners of conscience detained in Saudi Arabia are freed.

A man sits of a patch of grass with his three children: two girls and a boy. All four are smiling for the camera.
Imprisoned Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi with his children © Private

Waleed Abu al-Khair

Now, more than ever, we must keep up the pressure, as the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia grows worse.

We refuse to let Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record go unnoticed. The crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression continues unabated as the authorities continue to put human rights defenders on trial on charges related to their peaceful activism.

Dozens of outspoken activists, human rights defenders, writers and lawyers remain behind bars, including Raif’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. But, there’s power in numbers, and we won’t stop until all prisoners of conscience are free.

Read Samar Badawi’s powerful letter to her imprisoned husband, Waleed. Samar is the sister of Raif Badawi.

A group of people holding signs calling for Saudi Arabia to free peaceful activists from jail
Amnesty activists in Germany protesting the imprisonment of Saudi activists Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair © Amnesty International / Henning Schacht

How you can help

Here are three ways you can demand Saudi Arabia respects human rights.

1) Demand the release of all prisoners of conscience

Saudi Arabia is sensitive about its public image and international standing. We encourage you to target officials publicly, shaming them about their repression of freedom of expression and pressuring them to release all prisoners of conscience.

Tweet now

Defending human rights is not a crime. @KingSalman: Release all prisoners of conscience in #SaudiArabia now @raif_badawi @acprahr @WaleedAbulkhair

2) Urge Saudi Arabia to stop using counter-terrorism law against human rights defenders

In connection with their peaceful activities, human rights defenders continue to be prosecuted on vague, broad charges under the counter-terror law. They can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after grossly unfair trials in front of the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), a notorious tribunal set up to deal with security and terrorism-related offences. Last week, UN experts deplored Saudi Arabia’s use of the counter-terror law and urged it to end the repression of peaceful activists.

Tweet now

UN experts urge #Saudi Arabia to end repression of human rights defenders under counter-terror law and release all peaceful activists:

3) Urge your government to pressure Saudi Arabia to stop its crackdown on human rights

The Australian Government should do all it can to ensure Saudi Arabia does the right thing. Tweet now and call for the release of Raif, Waleed and all prisoners of conscience.

Tweet now

Defending human rights is not a crime! @KSAembassyAUST, @AusEmbRiyadh: Release all prisoners of conscience in #SaudiArabia now @raif_badawi @acprahr @WaleedAbulkhair