Waleed Abu al-Khair Unafraid to Continue His Human Rights Work
Prominent human rights activist and lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to a 15-year prison and travel ban for his undertakings in human rights-related works in Saudi Arabia.
The lawyer is currently detained in nowal-Ha’ir prison. Mr. Waleed Abu al-Khair is among the rights activists who were all sentenced in 2013 to long prison terms for charges of disrespecting the authorities and inciting international organisations against the country.
Waleed Abu al-Khair is the head of an independent human rights organization founded in 2008 called the Saudi Arabia Monitor of Human Rights. The lawyer has been facing persecution from the Saudi Arabian authorities and has been banned from traveling since March 2012.
According to media reports, the rights activist was given the option to stop his activism and apologize or suffer the consequences if he continued to do his human rights work.
US ‘Troubled’ By The Sentencing Of Waleed Abu al-Khair
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the United States is troubled by the 15-year prison sentence, travel ban, and steep fine handed down to human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu al-Khair.
She said Mr. al-Khair’s situation is discussed in the recent Human Rights Report on Saudi Arabia.
“We urge the Saudi government to respect international human rights norms, a point we make to them regularly.” – Ms. Psaki
According to Freedom House, Saudi Arabia is ranked Not Free, demonstrating an absence of political rights and a systematic denial of basic civil liberties.