On Twitter

Topics

Archive

  • expand2018 (1)
  • expand2017 (25)
  • expand2016 (31)
  • expand2015 (40)
  • expand2014 (38)
  • expand2013 (29)
  • expand2012 (31)
  • expand2011 (33)
  • expand2010 (18)
  • expand2009 (15)
  • expand2008 (22)
  • expand2007 (31)

Free Raif Badawi, Stop Arming Saudi Repression

January 9th marked three years since imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was flogged by the Saudi Arabian state. CAAT joined English PEN, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International at a vigil outside the Saudi embassy. We demanded Raif’s immediate release and an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

By continuing to arm and support the Saudi regime, the government is making itself complicit in the human rights abuses and atrocities that the regime is carrying out against Saudi people, as well as those that it is commiting in Yemen and Bahrain.

Protesters stand outside the Saudi embassy. They hold placards that read, “Free Raif”, “Free Waleed”, “Saudi Arabian blogger imprisoned - 1000 lashes - 10 years in prison - #FreeRaif @EnglishPEN” and a large banner that says “#FreeRaif, Stop Arming Saudi Repression”

Protesters hold a banner and #FreeRaif placards outside the Saudi embassy in London.

Raif was imprisoned in 2012 after he started a website called Free Saudi Liberals to encourage political debate in his country. He was charged with “insulting Islam through electronic channels” and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. In 2015 he was publicly flogged for the first time, receiving 50 lashes. There are fears he would not survive another flogging.

Raif’s lawyer Waleed Abulkhair is also in prison after speaking out against the terrible abuses he has had inflicted against him.

In a bid to secure arms sales and maintain good sales relations with the regime, the UK has failed to speak out on human rights issues. A prime example is the UK anti-death penalty advocacy strategy: this does not apply in Saudi Arabia, in spite of Saudi being one of the world’s most prolific executioners. In 2017 alone, Saudi authorities executed over 100 people. The tendency to ignore the violent reality of repression in Saudi Arabia has led to some astonishing hypocrisies, such as the UK government’s support for Saudi’s election to the UN Human Rights Council.

Protesters stand outside the Saudi Embassy. There are two, one with long dark hair and a bobble hat, the other with short grey hair, glasses and a grey scarf. Both are holding placards with Raif Badawi’s face on with the hashtag #FreeRaif

Protesters with #FreeRaif placards outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in London.

Public opinion is very clear. Poll after poll has shown that people in the UK overwhelmingly oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia or any other human rights-abusing regime. We need to do all we can to mobilise public opinion.

In 2017, the High Court unfortunately ruled that the government decision to continue to arm Saudi Arabia was legal, in spite of all of the evidence presented that weaponry is used in contravention of international humanitarian law. CAAT is currently seeking an appeal of this decision but is yet to receive a response as to whether this will go ahead.

Want to show your solidarity?

Email your MP

Email your MP and ask them to sign EDM 37.

Want support in contacting your MP? Find them at TheyWorkForYou.

On Twitter and Facebook:

Tweet #FreeRaif @englishpen.

Time to act on Yemen

Protesters block a road holding signs saying "Stop Arming Saudi"

Protesters at this year’s DSEI arms fair blocked deliveries of weapons calling for an end to arms sales to Saudi

What is happening in Yemen should be plastered across every UK newspaper, every day. Saudi forces are using UK-supplied weapons to destroy vital civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, water supplies and electrical grids.

Read more »

Free Nabeel Rajab, Free the family of Sayed Alwadaei, Stop torture in Bahrain

Demonstrators gathered outside the Bahraini embassy. They hold placards with images of Nabeel Rajab and Sayed Alwadaei’s family.

Sayed Alwadaei speaking about reprisals against his family by the Bahraini state.

On 21st November, CAAT was proud to join Bahraini activists and supporters from around the UK to protest against the ongoing crackdown and repression in Bahrain. We were saying, free human rights campaigners, such as Nabeel Rajab, free the family of Sayed Alwadaei, stop torture in Bahrain, and stop arming Saudi Arabia which is supporting repression in Bahrain. UK arms sales to Bahrain prop up the repressive regime, and arming Saudi Arabia gives further support to the crushing of democracy in Bahrain.

Read more »

How the arms industry is hijacking EU policy

A new report “Securing Profits: How the arms lobby is hijacking Europe’s defence policy by Bram Vranken of the Flemish peace organisation Vredesactie documents the symbiotic relationship between arms industry lobby and the European Union.

Person wearing tie with pictures of weaponry in EU colours

Photo: Vrredesactie

In 2016 the European Union took the unprecedented step of setting up a military research programme worth 90 million euros, the so-called Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). This is only a first step. For the next ten years, the European Commission proposes the establishment of a European Defence Fund which would allocate more than 40 billion euros to the research, development and procurement of weapons.

These steps signify a fundamental change to the European project. Although arms companies have received EU funding before, this has always happened through the ‘back door’ by way of a security research programme. The establishment of a EU military research programme points towards an unprecedented acceleration in the militarisation of the EU.

Read more »

Public opinion is firmly against the arms trade

This September, thousands of people took part in two weeks of effective action against the DSEI arms fair, but we were acting for millions more across the UK. One thing we always have to remember is that public opinion is firmly on our side and that the overwhelming majority of people across the country are appalled by events like DSEI.

Join the week of action against DSEI

Next week will see a major week of blockades and actions against the DSEI arms fair while it sets up at the Excel Centre in East London.

For four days in September 2017, the international weapons industry plans to set up shop in London at a huge arms fair, DSEI. The weapons sold here fuel the death, destruction and injustice perpetrated by militaries, police forces and at borders around the world.

Protests against DSEI 2015 – Photo by Jess Hurd

In 2015, hundreds of people took part in a huge week of action to stop the set up of the arms fair – the biggest-ever protests against DSEI. For six days we blocked entrances, disrupting the set-up of the fair. This year the protests will be even bigger.

Read more »

It’s all happening in September

September 2017 is a key month for those seeking to end the arms trade. There are just so many, and such varied, opportunities to highlight the dire consequences of the trade in death and destruction and move towards ending it. Read more »

Dancing to Disarm! Activists come together for a night of live music, DJs and dancing.

Over 22-23 July, CAAT organised a full weekend of workshops, speakers, training and performance to build resistance to the arms trade. On the Saturday evening, over 260 people attended Dance To Disarm: a night of live music, DJs and spoken word to raise funds for CAAT and build solidarity through music. Below, long-time CAAT supporter Alastair Binnie-Lubbock gives his reflections on the evening. 

Logic on stage wearing a Justice4Grenfell t-shirt

Logic on stage wearing a #Justice4Grenfell t-shirt and calling for people powered change

Read more »

“It is up to each of us to stop the killing where it starts”: No retrial for Stop DSEI activists

In 2015, a group of eight activists were arrested while taking action against the DSEI arms fair, and later acquitted as a judge ruled they took action to prevent a greater crime. The Winter Oak reports on the CPS challenge to their acquittal- you can read a longer version of this article at winteroak.org.uk.

In a judgement handed down today (Friday July 14 2017), the High Court overturned the acquittal of eight anti-militarists for disrupting the setup of the DSEI arms fair in 2015. Nevertheless, it ruled that in the interests of justice, none of the activists would be re-tried or face costs.activists raise their fists behind a stop the arms fair banner Read more »

Stop Arming Saudi activists call for further action

Quaker activist Sam Walton and Rev Daniel Woodhouse have pled ‘Not Guilty’ to criminal damage at their pre-trial hearing, and called for further action to Stop Arming Saudi. Sam Walton reports.

Back in January we broke into BAE System’s Warton Airbase to try and disarm warplanes they are selling to the Saudis. The Saudi are using those planes in their bombing campaign that is devastating Yemen. We had to take action to prevent crimes against humanity.sam walton and Rev Daniel Woodhouse outside the magistrates court Read more »