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 »

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.

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 »

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 »

#FreeRaif – Vigil outside the Saudi embassy

CAAT joined the author and activist Ensaf Haidar, wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, outside the Saudi Arabian embassy to call for his immediate release. Lucie Kinchin reports.

Ensaf Haidar and two CAAT activists hold a banner which reads #FreeRaif Stop Arming Saudi Repression in front of the Saudi embassy

Read more »

Edinburgh activists call on council to end its investment in arms companies

Brian Larkin and members of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre hand the petition to divest from arms manufacture to Cllr Chas Booth, Convener of Edinburgh Council’s petitions committee.

Campaigners in Edinburgh are calling for their council to end its investment in arms companies.

Yesterday our friends at Edinburgh CAAT and the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre presented a 400 strong petition to Councillor Chas Booth, the Convener of Edinburgh Council’s petitions committee.

Read more »

“The situation in Yemen is catastrophic. We must act”

Journalists within Saudi often face persecution, but two Saudi nationals based in the UK have started a new media channel with the aim of “building bridges between the people of Arabia and the people around the world”. Their first post to inaugurate the channel is a report on a recent meeting on arms sales to Saudi in Bolton.

You can watch their video report of the event below, and follow them on twitter @Mngro_com.

Read more »

21 years on: solidarity with the disarmers

Andrea Needham writes: On 29 January 1996, I was one of a group of women who disarmed a Hawk warplane at BAE’s Warton factory in Lancashire. The plane was destined for Indonesia, where it would be used in the ongoing occupation and genocide in East Timor.

Exactly 21 years later, and now in the era of social media, I was idly perusing Facebook on a Sunday morning when I saw that two men had broken into the very same factory, with the intention of disarming warplanes being sold by BAE to Saudi Arabia, for use in their crimes against humanity in Yemen.

Andrea Needham with a copy of The Hammer Blow

Read more »

BAE Arms: Saudi Kills

Activists released on bail after attempt to disarm BAE fighter jets bound for Saudi Arabia.

Daniel Woodhouse, a Methodist minister from Leeds, and Quaker activist Sam Walton have been released on bail pending charges after breaking into BAE’s Warton site. The pair were arrested at BAE Systems’ airbase in Warton, Lancashire, in the early hours of Sunday 29 January after entering BAE Systems’ Warton site in order to disarm warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia.

Sam and Dan with hammer used 21 years ago

The aircraft are part of a multi-billion pound deal between BAE Systems and the Saudi regime, and were due to be shipped to Saudi Arabia within weeks. Their action came as a panel of UN experts warned that the devastating Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, which have caused a humanitarian catastrophe, may be part of “a broader policy of attrition against civilian infrastructure” which may “amount to war crimes.”

Read more »