Persecuted Saudi blogger wins human rights prize

This video, recorded in Canada, says about itself:

10 Years in Jail & 1,000 Lashes: In Conversation with Ensaf Haidar

18 August 2015

In June 2012, the creator of the Free Saudi Liberals blog Raif Badawi was accused of apostasy and insulting Islam, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1 000 lashes by the General Court of Jeddah.

Vice meets with Badawi‘s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who sought refuge in Sherbrooke QC with her 3 children in 2013. They discuss the message her husband was trying to get across in his writings, … and the life she left behind in Saudi Arabia.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded Sakharov human rights prize

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose flogging sentence caused an outcry, has been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize.

Parliament President Martin Schulz urged Saudi King Salman “to free him, so he can accept the prize”.

Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for “insulting Islam”.

Another example of the Saudi regime using religious pretexts to silence political criticism of itself.

Earlier this month he also won the Pen Pinter Prize for championing free speech.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations for their contribution to the fight for human rights and democracy.

It is named after the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Flogging postponed

Mr Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was convicted of insulting Islam in 2012 and fined £175,000.

He received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in January, but subsequent floggings have been postponed.

In June, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict despite a foreign outcry.

“This man, who is an extremely good man, an exemplary man, has had imposed on him one of the most gruesome penalties,” Mr Schulz told a packed European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France.

“I call on the Saudi king to immediately free him. Relations depend on human rights being respected by our partners… they are not only not being respected but are being trodden underfoot.” …

Mr Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, now living [in] Canada with their children, said the award was a “message of hope and courage”.

“I thank the European Parliament,” she told AFP news agency.

Mr Badawi was one of three nominees for this year’s prize along with assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.

Fortunately, at least this year the prize goes to a genuine human rights fighter. To someone who is up against dictatorial allies of the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union. If one of the two other candidates would have won, then it would have been more of a geopolitical move to embarrass governments with which the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union have economic and/or strategic issues. As sometimes happened with the Sakharov Prize before.

Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Myanmar activist Aung San Suu Kyi and Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

Two winners who deserved a human rights prize without any doubt: Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai. And one winner who half-deserved it: Ms Aung San Suu Kyi did stand up to the military regime in her country; but is silent on the state terrorism against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar (Burma).

Is your name now ‘banned’ in Saudi Arabia? Kingdom releases 50 names parents are forbidden from calling their children, such as Linda, Alice and Elaine: here.

Saudi Arabia bombs Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen

Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, bombed by United States Air Force

The royal air force of Saudi Arabia apparently wants to show that they are real allies of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia in the USA.

They want to show that they cannot just kill their own Yemen war allies. They want to show that they cannot just kill Indian fishermen. They want to show that they cannot just bomb refugees in Yemen, bomb factory workers in Yemen, market visitors in Yemen, children in Yemen, beautiful ancient homes in Yemen, weddings in Yemen (just like their Pentagon or CIA allies).

They have shown that they can bomb a Doctors Without Borders hospital. Just like their Pentagon allies.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

MSF/Doctors Without Borders: bombs on clinic in Yemen

Today, 10:41

In Yemen, according to MSF, tonight one of its clinics was hit in an air strike by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia. The charity says that the building has been hit several times.

The clinic is in Saada in northwestern Yemen. The director of the hospital in Saada has said to the Yemeni state news agency Saba that several people were injured in the attacks.

The hospital is said to be completely destroyed. Also a school for girls and some houses were hit in the vicinity of the clinic.

It is the second time in a short time that a medical facility of MSF was hit. In early October, a clinic was bombed in Afghanistan by US warplanes. Thereby certainly 30 people were killed.

Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states started interfering seven months ago with their armed forces in the civil war in Yemen. Already more than 5600 people have been killed by the conflict.

Because of the fighting in Yemen, the majority of the 24 million population is now dependent on humanitarian aid. UNICEF recently warned of the consequences of the war for Yemeni children.

OBAMA AND YEMEN: IS HE TRYING TO GET OUT? “Over the past six months, the Obama administration has quietly embroiled the U.S. in a Middle Eastern war that has left more than 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid and killed at least 5,000. U.S.-backed Sunni Arab nations, led by Saudi Arabia, have bombed weddings, left families to starve and looked the other way as an al Qaeda affiliate has used the confusion to seize significant territory. Civilian casualties are growing daily.” [Akbar Shahid Ahmed, HuffPost]

Saudi royal accused of sexual and drug abuse

This 25 September 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud Arrested On Sex Crime Charge At L.A. Mansion

From the Tribune in Pakistan:

I am a prince and I do what I want, said drugged-up Saudi royal

October 21, 2015

A Saudi prince, who was arrested last month at his LA mansion, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a male aide,

For homosexuality, you will get the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Well … you will get it if you are a commoner … I am not so sure about royal family scions. As in Saudi Arabia, like in quite some other countries, there is one law for commoners, and one, other, law for royals and for other elite people.

taking cocaine

For anything to do with drugs, you will get the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Well … you will get it if you are a poor Pakistani … … I am not so sure about royal family scions. As in Saudi Arabia, as in quite some other countries, there is one law … etc.

and threatening to kill women who refused his advances — as well as sexually assaulting a maid, Daily Mail reported.

Prince Majed bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is now facing a series of allegations in a civil case brought by three female staff members of his Los Angeles mansion.

The staff has accused him of repeatedly making unwanted sexual advances while being drunk and high at his $37 million mansion in Beverly Hills and even forcing them to watch a male aide pleasure him, according to court documents.

The staff claims that the royal threatened to kill one of the women when she refused to ‘party’ with him and jumped on top of another and began rubbing himself against her in a “sexual and aggressive manner”.

He also attempted to urinate on the trio while screaming, “I want to pee pee”. When asked to stop, Al Saud allegedly then yelled, “I am a prince and I do what I want. You are nobody!” Another female staff member has alleged that she was made to watch while a different male aide bent over and broke wind in Al Saud’s face, apparently at his request.

These disclosures about the prince were made after felony charges were dropped against him by Los Angeles District Attorney due to lack of evidence. The case has now been passed to LA city attorney Mike Feur who will decide whether to pursue misdemeanour charges – which could lead to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine should he be convicted.

The women who had been employed by the prince to look after his Wallingford Drive mansion say that they still have not been paid and are hoping to recover their lost earnings. They allege that the 29-year-old prince threw a party on September 21 and arranged for “multiple escorts” to attend. As the evening progressed, he became “increasingly intoxicated” and was seen engaging in “illicit drug abuse”.

The next evening he threw another party where he “continued to engage in heavy drinking, cocaine use and more escorts came to the residence”.

The day after that, he attempted to urinate on the three women but was dragged away by an assistant before he could so. However, he returned ten minutes later and the incident in which he rubbed himself against one of the women occurred. When she attempted to reason with him, saying, “I’m a woman” he screamed, “You’re not a woman, you are a nobody! I’m a prince and I will do what I want and nobody will do anything to me!”

The terrified women, who had often witnessed the prince physically abuse the male staff, hid on a balcony but were told by an aide to get back to work and that they were not supposed to have any breaks. One of them was then told to pour a drink for the prince and was subjected to a violent assault that left her badly bruised. When they attempted to leave, they found that they had been locked in by the aides. It was then that the royal threatened to kill the third woman, telling her, “You are going to go upstairs. I will be there in two minutes and you’ll do whatever I want. If not, then I’ll kill you.” Al Saud then, it is alleged, became even more agitated and began to “scream and make animal like sounds.”

The women managed to escape the house but had to return the next day to collect their personal possessions. The aides assured them that the prince would not bother them again but if they left then they would have to forfeit their wages. They were locked in again and when they next encountered the prince, he was masturbated by another man. Al Saud then ordered them to watch. One of the woman was also asked to “lick my whole body” by Al Saud in exchange for payment and says he became aggressive when she refused.

Finally, police was called when the prince’s girlfriend, who he had earlier accused of having sex with another man in the bathroom of a club the previous evening, and the original complainant were found covered in blood, crying and shaking. Al Saud was then arrested and led away by the LAPD, allegedly screaming, “No news!” at onlookers.

Al Saud has not been seen at his rented $37 million Beverly Glen mansion since his arrest late last month and is thought by neighbours to have fled the country.

Saudi prince arrested on sex crime charge is late King Abdullah‘s son: report here.

Three US women claim sexual assault by Saudi prince in Beverly Hills mansion. The women who were hired as housekeepers in Majed Abdulaziz Al Saud’s home say the prince made sexual advances and harassed them and other staff: here.