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Human rights activist and lawyer prevented from travelling

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 25 March 2012 - ANHRI condemns the Saudi security authorities' decision to prevent lawyer and human rights activist Walid Abu El Kheir from travelling, two days before a scheduled trip to the United States to attend a leadership training.

Abu El Kheir was preparing for his trip, scheduled for 23 March, when he received a notice on the evening of 21 March informing him that he was prevented from travelling for security reasons.

Abu El Kheir is one of only a few individuals who dared to stand up against the repeated violations of the Saudi security services, who claim to respect the rule of law and take into account security and the values ​​of Islam.

The travel ban on Abu El Kheir comes days after his wife Samar Badawi was awarded an International Women of Courage Award by the US Secretary of State. Abu El Kheir has been targeted and exposed to prosecution and harassment by the security forces in the past because of his defence of people imprisoned for expressing themselves and prisoners of conscience. Moreover, he initiated a case against the Interior Ministry because of the detention of Saudi prisoner of conscience Abdulrahman al-Shamiri for more than two and a half years without any charges.

ANHRI director Gamal Eid stated: "The minister of interior, who is among the worst violators of human rights in the Arab world, claims that his ministry respects the law and the Saudi king claims to value the protection of all Saudi citizens! I would not be surprised if one of their followers claimed that Saudi Arabia was the most democratic country in history and that the elections of the king and his ministers were fair!"

"These violations are fundamentally unjust and are punishable crimes by law. The silence against this is complicity with those crimes," added Eid.

He went on to state: "Following the fall of the dictators in Iraq, Tunisia, and the now imminent fall of the Syrian dictator, Saudi Arabia has become the main Arab dictatorship and it is important to highlight its crimes. Despite their best efforts, dictatorships will never be able to turn the clock," concluded Eid.

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