Members of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, Barbara Lochbihler, Josef Weidenholzer, Marietje Schaake, Richard Howitt and Ulrike Lunacek today sent a letter to His Majesty King Salman regarding the case of Saudi Arabian Writer Raif Badawi.
His Majesty King Salman, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Office of His Majesty the King, Royal Court Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Brussels, 29 January 2015Your Majesty, We express our condolences for the death of His Majesty King Abdullah and our best wishes for your ascent to the throne of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are writing as Members of the European Parliament as we are very worried about the situation of Saudi citizen and human rights defender Raif Badawi. We remain deeply concerned about the fact that Raif Badawi is still due to undergo public flogging as part of a sentence for having peacefully exercised his right to freedom of speech by expressing his views online. We therefore call on Your Majesty to use mercy and rule to drop all charges against Raif Badawi, grant him unconditional release and free him off all punishment foreseen in the sentence upheld by the Court of Appeal in Jeddah, on September 1 of last year, namely the ten-year travel ban that has been imposed on him, the ban on the use of any media outlets and the one million Arabian riyals fine. We would like to remind you that Mr. Badawi’s wife and children are currently residing in Canada and would like to stress the importance of reuniting him with his family. We know that Canada would be willing to grant residency to Mr. Badawi, as it did for his wife and children, so we would urge Your Majesty to let Mr. Badawi leave the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia once released to join them as soon as possible. We appeal to Your Majesty, therefore, to show compassion for Raif Badawi, his lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair as well as for all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, and that you grant them an official pardon and see to that they are no longer subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture by the authorities of Saudi Arabia. We would like to call on Your Majesty that, as a matter of priority, you take action to uphold International Law, namely International Human Rights Law. Sincerely, Ana Gomes, MEP, Portugal, S&D Barbara Lochbihler, MEP, Germany, Greens Josef Weidenholzer, MEP, Austria, S&D Marietje Schaake, MEP, The Netherlands, ALDE Richard Howitt, MEP, United Kingdom, S&D Ulrike Lunacek, MEP, Austria, Greens