Friday, August 28, 2009

Assassination Attempt on Prince Naif

Terror Breeds More Terror and Terrorists
Director’s Comment:

The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, condemns the attempt on Saudi Deputy Interior Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Naif ‘s life on August 28, 2009. CDHR calls on the Saudi ruling elites and their voiceless people to rethink their pre-modern system of tyrannical governance. The Ministry of Interior over which Prince Mohammed’s father has presided for about four decades is in charge of the country's domestic security. Mohammed and his father are in charge of the “religious” police whose ferocious members are empowered to terrorize the Saudi people in the guise of maintaining a “pure” Muslim society. Saudi Arabia under the management of the Saudi ruling princes has become notoriously known for terrorism, religious intolerance, extremism and suicide bombers, like the one who attempted to kill Prince Mohammed. To rid Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and the international community from religious extremism, suicide bombers and other forms of terrorism is to de-politicize Islam through profound transformation of Saudi religious and educational institutions and empowerment of the people, especially women, to save their country from their home grown extremist murderer.

Read more from The New York Times.

10-year old Saudi bride returned to 80-year old husband under Sharia law

Here is another example of the abuses that occur under the Saudi Wahhabi rule. A 10-year old bride has been forced by her father to return to her 80-year old husband. She was found hiding with her aunt to escape the marriage, which is considered legal under Sharia law. Sharia law is the legal system in Saudi Arabia.

This is child molestation by any standard. Sadly, this story is one of many more such cases.

Read the article from Arab News.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wajeha al-Huwaider : A Courageous Advocate for Saudi Women

Wajeha Al-Huwaider is a courageous advocate for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia.

The Washington Post’s Outlook section this past Sunday featured an illuminating op-ed by Wajeha al-Huwaider, a Saudi woman who has daringly shed light on the quandary of Saudi women over the years.

Read her article, Saudi Women Can Drive. Just Let Them.

As explained in her article, Al-Huwaider’s latest campaign is for the abolition of the paternalistic male guardianship. Under this system, women are not permitted to travel, work, attend college, or even receive life-saving medicine without the permission of a male guardian, usually their husband, father, or brother. This system denies Saudi women their basic human rights. Victims of domestic abuse have little or no recourse and no way of escaping from their attackers, since consent of their male guardian, who is often their abuser, is required to seek legal action. Preposterously, this system is not written law, yet is enforced by Saudi authorities. This makes it exceedingly difficult to fight the system, as the Saudi government continues to deny its existence.

As a promoter of human rights and democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia CDHR staff and supporters held a peaceful demonstration on July 27 in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate support for Saudi women’s call for the removal of the unnatural, unnecessary and contemptuous male guardianship system, which is sanctioned and enforced by Saudi authorities.

In her article al-Huwaider talks not only about the need to abolish male guardianship, but highlights the multitude of impediments Saudi women face every day of their lives, including child marriage, the ban on women driving, being forced to wear an abaya in public, not being allowed to participate in sports, and the four wives system.

CDHR supports Wajeha al-Huwaider and her colleagues in their struggle to obtain their full citizenship and legitimate rights in the autocratically ruled Saudi kingdom.

Here's a link to an earlier article on al-Huwaider, also in The Washington Post, and her YouTube video of Saudi women driving for International Women's Day (in Arabic).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saudi Human Rights Abuses in the Name of Fighting Terrorism

The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia has been highlighting the rampant miscarriage of justice in Saudi Arabia for years. The Saudi judicial system is based on the Shariah law, which does not recognize civil law and can easily be interpreted by the Saudi sectarian court system as presiding religious judges see fit.

In the past few weeks, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released extensive reports on Saudi human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism.

Saudi Arabia has held more than 9,000 people related to terrorism charges since 2003 and announced plans to try only a portion (less than 1000) of the detainees in October 2008. Since then, little information about the trials has been made available, including the names of prisoners to be tried and whether they will have access to a lawyer. Amnesty International reports that those who have gone to trial have been subject to “grossly unfair and secret proceedings.” The legal limit for imprisonment without trial in Saudi Arabia is six months.

Some prisoners have been tried and have completed their sentences, yet continue to be held indefinitely. Other prisoners are forced to undergo religious reeducation in place of trials.

Saudi Arabia lacks a penal code and instead relies on Shariah law. Without specified criminal offenses, the judiciary has wide powers to impose brutal sentences, including the death penalty, and follow various interpretations of the religious law.

This denial of human rights, by denying trials to thousands of prisoners, setting up unjust, underground trials for a few, and imposing religious counseling should be condemned. The Saudi royal family should recognize the necessity for immediate judicial reform and begin to resolve this abusive situation by releasing detainees held beyond the legal six months and providing fair, public trials with impartial sentences.

Read the report from Human Rights Watch: Human Rights and Saudi Arabia's Counterterrorism Response and an overview of the report.

Read Amnesty International's report: Saudi Arabia: Assaulting Human Rights in the Name of Counter-Terrorism and coverage from The New York Times.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Peaceful Demonstration at Saudi Embassy

Recent Events at CDHR

As the only non-profit educational organization that is focused exclusively on the Saudi government’s domestic and foreign policies and their implications and ramifications for the Saudi people and the international community, CDHR organized two major events in July 2009.

As part of its ongoing educational activities, CDHR staff and supporters held a peaceful demonstration on July 27 in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate support for Saudi women’s call for the removal of the unnatural, unnecessary and destructive male guardianship system, which is sanctioned and enforced by Saudi authorities.

On July 29, CDHR hosted a unique and informative conference, “How Empowering Saudi Women Can Undermine Islamist Extremism,” held at the US Congressional Visitors Conference Center in Washington DC. CDHR brought together members of the US Congress, former US government officials and dedicated human rights activists including Muslim women and men to elaborate on the importance of empowering Saudi women, which in turn will ensure a stable society that will serve the best interest of its people and the international community.

The well-attended conference featured two panels where speakers addressed different aspects of Saudi women’s oppression and its implications for Saudi society and beyond. At the end of their presentations, the speakers made specific policy recommendations to be considered and carried out by the United States government. Prominent among these recommendations are removal of the male guardianship system, full employment opportunities, religious freedom, codified laws to protect women from discriminatory policies and the right to representation in the Saudi judicial system.

Speakers included Congresswomen Sue Myrick (North Carolina) and Congressman Dan Burton (Indiana), as well as Dr. Thomas Farr, Georgetown University; Ms. Farzana Hassan, Canadian Muslim Congress; Ms. Clare Lopez, former CIA official; Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Director of Al-Quran Center; and Ms. Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch, director Middle East and North Africa section.

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