In May of 2015, Maharat Foundation and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) launched the prisoners of conscience campaign in association with IFEX. The campaign seeks to shed light on the many activists and human rights defenders who have been imprisoned across the Arab region simply for expressing their opinions and beliefs.
Every month, a new Arab prisoner of conscience will be spotlighted and their stories will be told. There are many ways that you can get involved to help demand their release, an improvement of their conditions, or at the very least, to let authorities know that these individuals will not be forgotten.
Join us as we make it known around the world that #TheirFreedomIsTheirRight!
This Month's Prisoner: Waleed Abulkhair
The prisoner of conscience for the month of June is Waleed Abulkhair. Waleed is an internationally recognized Saudi Arabian lawyer and human rights activist, as well as the head of the human rights organization the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.
On 6 July 2014, a Special Court in Jeddah sentenced Waleed to 15 years in prison for his peaceful activism and criticism of the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia voiced over Twitter and in media interviews. The charges were laid under the new anti-terrorism laws that have increasingly been used to target human rights defenders in the country.
In addition to the prison sentence, Waleed has also been stuck with a travel ban and fined 200,000 Saudi Riyals. He has been held incommunicado at the al-Hair prison since February of 2015, where activists and human rights defenders fear he has been the victim of torture and other abuse.
Tweet for Waleed's freedom
Urge King Salman to mark this Ramadan by giving Waleed his freedom. Send the tweet provided above, and any other messages with the common prisoners of conscience hashtag #TheirFreedomIsTheirRight or #حريتهم _حقهم
Want to do more?
- Post the photo of the prisoner of the month on your accounts, blogs or websites;
- Write to the public prosecutor, the minister of interior, the president, or the leader of your country;
- Encourage the press in your country to write about the case of the prisoner of the month.