Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Saudi Arabia: Dissident Writer Arrested

EU, US Leaders Should Publicly Condemn Human Rights Violations

Human Rights Watch, April 20, 2011

The EU’s silence on the brazen arrest of a peaceful dissident on the first day of its chief foreign policy representative’s visit looks like a pat on the back for an authoritarian state. Silence when more than 160 peaceful dissidents are locked up should not be an option for Brussels or Washington

Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch

(Munich) – Saudi authorities have arrested over 160 peaceful dissidents in violation of international human rights law since February 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged the interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud, to order the immediate release of peaceful dissidents, including Nadhir al-Majid, a writer and teacher arrested on April 17.

Allies of Saudi Arabia have not publicly protested these serious and systematic violations. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said on April 18 that she had been “very pleased” with her two-day visit to Riyadh and made no public comments about the political prisoners. Neither Tom Donilon, the US national security adviser who visited Riyadh on April 13, nor Robert Gates, US defense secretary who visited on April 6, publicly commented on the kingdom’s human rights violations.

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