Month: May 2017

Ensaf Haidar joins London vigil for her husband, blogger Raif Badawi

Ensaf Haidar joins London vigil for her husband, blogger Raif Badawi
Wednesday 17 May, 1:00 pm—2:00 pm

English PEN and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are honoured to be hosting author and activist Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, in London this month.

Join us for a special vigil at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia on 17 May, a month ahead of the fifth anniversary of Raif Badawi’s arrest, to continue calling for his immediate release.

Vigil for Raif Badawi
1-2pm, Wednesday 17 May
Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London*
RSVP: cat@englishpen.org

English PEN has been holding regular vigils at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London since blogger Raif Badawi was first flogged more two years ago, on 9 January 2015, calling for his release and for his sentence to be quashed. Our colleagues at RSF joined forces on these vigils shortly after the opening of their UK bureau last year.

This month’s vigil is also co-sponsored by Bread and Roses TV, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Index on Censorship, One Law for All, PEN International, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, the Publishers Association, and the Society of Authors.

We are delighted to be joined by Ensaf Haidar for a special vigil: please come along to show your ongoing support for Raif and his family and help spread the word. #FreeRaif

* Activists are asked to meet at the Curzon Street entrance to the Embassy. (note: the postal address of the Embassy is 30-32 Charles Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5DZ).

Spread the word

If you’re unable to join us in person you can still show your support for Raif Badawi by sharing details of his case and calling for his freedom on social media. Please use the hashtag #FreeRaif and follow @raif_badawi

Take part in our ongoing photo action

English PEN and the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom are inviting individuals and organisations all over the world to show their ongoing support for Badawi and his family by sharing a photo of themselves holding a poster or message of solidarity.

We are aiming to get 1000 images to represent the 1000 lashes to which Raif has been sentenced. As well as helping to raise and maintain awareness of his case, these photos will serve as a powerful visual representation of the widespread support for Raif and his family.

Please share your photo, ideally with details of where it was taken (eg Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London, UK).

Download our #FreeRaif poster

Send us your photos

Via Twitter:

Please share your photo with the hashtag #FreeRaif and tag @englishpen
Via Facebook:

Please tag English PEN Writers at Risk in your photos, and use the hashtag #FreeRaif

Via Email:

Please email your photos, with the subject line ‘Free Raif photo’ and details of where it was taken (eg Saudi Embassy, London, UK) to cat@englishpen.org Please also send copies to the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom – info@fondationraifbadawi.org

We must all stand with Mohamed Salih

In a very brave step, Mohamed Salih, a young Sudanese, filed an official request for all mention of Islam to be removed from his documents, including his national ID. As a result, he was charged with apostasy, per Article 126 of the Sudanese Criminal Code, which states: “Whoever propagates the renunciation of Islam or publicly renounces it by explicit words or an act of definitive indication is said to commit the offence of Riddah (apostasy).”

Salih was, therefore, arrested on 8 May 2017 and held in Alqadisiyah police station, Ombada, a suburb of Omdurman. Since Aristide Nononsi, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan, was on a visit, the Sudanese government released Salih after declaring him mentally unfit.

Salih is currently in hiding given that he is at serious risk of mob violence. Though his request was declined by the court, he insists on continuing his case. He is also calling for his mental capacity to be properly assessed.

The grounds for his legal defence is the contradiction between Article 126 of the criminal code and Article 38 of the 2005 transitional constitution, which allows for the freedom of choice of religion and belief: “Every person shall have the right to the freedom of religious creed and worship, and to declare his/her religion or creed and manifest the same, by way of worship, education, practice or performance of rites or ceremonies, subject to requirements of law and public order; no person shall be coerced to adopt such faith, that he/she does not believe in, nor to practice rites or services to which he/she does not voluntarily consent.”

Whilst Salih’s Facebook page was initially removed, it is now back online raising once again concerns about Facebook’s compliance with governments aiming to censor and silence those deemed apostates.

The Council of Ex-Muslims calls on the Sudanese government to comply with Mr Salih’s request to remove Islam from his documents and protect his safety and security. We also call on the public to stand in firm support of Salih’s brave move in defence of freedom of conscience, which includes the right to leave Islam and atheism.

A petition support Mr Salih can be found here.

For more information:
Maryam Namazie and Sadia Hameed
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

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