We, members of the Danish Parliament, have written this letter to voice our deepest concerns about the conviction of two Saudi nationals; Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair.
We believe that Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair have been wrongfully imprisoned while merely using their inalienable right to freedom of expression and that the charges against them should be dropped.
Raif Badawi was in May 2014 sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1.000 lashes, a 10 year travel ban, a fine and a ban on appearing on media outlets. We believe that Raif Badawi should be released immediately, that all charges against him should be dropped and that the authorities should refrain from carrying out the remaining flogging punishment.
Waleed Abu al-Khair, a prominent lawyer, was in July 2014 sentenced to 15 years in jail, followed by a 15-year travel ban and a fine. He is the first human rights defender sentenced as a “terrorist” under the new counter-terror law. We believe that Waleed Abu al-Khair should be released immediately and unconditionally and that all charges against him should be dropped.
We are determined to keep our focus on this important matter and hope that Saudi Arabia will live up to your responsibility under international human rights law.
Michael Aastrup Jensen
Rasmus Vestergaard Madsen
Ulla M Sandbæk