Waleed Abu al-Kkhair
Waleed Sami Abulkhair (Arabic: وليد أبوالخير) is a Saudi Arabian lawyer and human rights activist, and the head of the "Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia" (MHRSA) organization. Waleed is currently serving an inhuman 15 year sentence in Saudi Arabia. He was listed by Forbes magazine as one of Top 100 Most Influential Arabs on Twitter. Waleed is married to Raif's sister, Samar Badawi, and legally represented Raif.
He is the first activist to be prosecuted by the Terrorism Law. He was arrested on 15 April 2014 and was sent to Alhair "political prison" while prosecution. On July 6, 2014, Abulkhair was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Specialized Criminal Court.
This letter was written by Samar Badawi to her imprisoned husband...
Words are not enough for me to express how proud I am of my husband. How deeply proud I am of the man who believed in me and my cause when I was imprisoned. As my lawyer, he defended me and never left me alone to face those who unjustly attempted to impose their patriarchal authority over me just because I am a woman who dared to speak up. Everyone turned their backs on me except for my husband who remained by my side until he had helped achieve justice for my cause.
He has always been my rock whenever I felt weak, he was my strength and my source of motivation and inspiration.
He taught me that a person is born free and that it is up to him or her to live in freedom or die trying to achieve it. Slavery has no place in his life except when it comes to serving God, the one and only. Now, he lives in freedom even though he is behind bars with his colleagues Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and many other activists imprisoned purely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
My life with him can be described as a wonderful book; resilience is its title, strife and struggle fill its pages, and its conclusion is freedom.
And here I am, my beloved husband, applying what I have learned from the book of our life – for I shall forever be resilient, hanging on whilst you are behind bars. I shall continue my struggle as long as my heart beats, and I shall never give up until I have you back under our roof. I shall forever believe in our freedom which you have spent your whole life defending.
Know then, dear husband, that it is tyranny and oppression that have put you behind bars.
In Saudi Arabia those who chose to rule in the name of Islam and Sharia law have treated such jurisprudence as mere ink on paper. Those who claim to use religion to protect me are the very people who took away my safety and security, for within the kingdom those meant to be serving justice have decided that oppression should be a cause for celebration.
So a word to them...
To all those rulers and judges who have unfairly imprisoned the free, and enslaved the people, beware of the judgement you will receive from the heavens above. Woe to you who have terrorised the aggrieved out of pride.
To my fellow Saudi Arabians I say that my husband has been imprisoned so that you could live free. He stood up to the tyrants to claim your rights; he faced up to his oppressors, telling them he would not tolerate their repression. Remember that history does not forget, it will exalt those who have fought for freedom and cast aside the memory of those who succumbed to a life of humiliation and servitude.
My last words are to my baby daughter, Joud. Do not feel sad because you were born while your father was behind bars. Be proud instead and hold your head high, for the whole world envies you for the father you have – even if his homeland has turned against him.
The future awaits you to continue your father's struggle so that you make him even more proud than he is now. You will grow up to be a role model yourself, soon to become known as Joud the free, Joud the defiant, Joud the resilient: Joud Waleed Abu al-Khair",
From Human Rights Watch...
Waleed Abu al-Khair is a lawyer and founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, a human rights organization that authorities have refused to license.
Abu al-Khair petitioned King Abdullah in 2007 to permit the establishment of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia but received no reply. Weeks later, the Saudi Ministry of Education revoked a governmental study abroad scholarship that Abu al-Khair had won, without explanation. Abu al-Khair completed his studies at his own expense.
Ministry of Social Affairs officials have also rejected his attempts to register the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia as an NGO in Jeddah, forcing him to register the organization in Canada. Its website has also been blocked in Saudi Arabia, but the organization’s Facebook page has over 5,600 subscribers.
In 2009, Abu al-Khair acted as defense lawyer for a member of the “Jeddah reformists”, a group of 16 men, including political and human rights activists, whom police detained after they met to establish a human rights organization.Ministry of Interior officials threatened to imprison Abu al-Khair if he continued his work and warned his father and brother that he should stop his activities.
In 2011, Abu al-Khair signed two other petitions to King Abdullah calling for political reform. One of the petitions, titled “Events in Qatif and Detainees in Jeddah,” called for the release of political detainees in Jeddah and for investigations into the recent killings of protesters by security forces in the Eastern Province. Prosecutors questioned many of the signatories to the petition, including Abu al-Khair. A number were compelled by threat of prosecution to sign retractions.
Abu al-Khair began his doctoral studies in the United Kingdom in 2011. Upon returning to Saudi Arabia for the month of Ramadan, the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution called him to appear before the Criminal Court of the Jeddah Governorate in September. The court informed him of criminal charges against him for “offending the judiciary” and “attempting to distort the reputation of the kingdom”, citing his calls for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, and his appearance on foreign media channels where he spoke out about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and the case of Samar Badawi.In subsequent sessions, prosecutors questioned him and accused him of providing information to Human Rights Watch. The trial remains ongoing at this writing.
In March 21012, the Ministry of Interior imposed a travel ban on Abu al-Khair, preventing him from traveling to the United States to complete a fellowship program. The ministry did not give the reasons for the travel ban or its duration as required by law.
On September 12, 2013, Abu al-Khair received a call from an official with the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Rehabilitation Program, a Ministry of Interior-sponsored counseling program founded to re-integrate jihadists into Saudi society, summoning him to attend sessions at a center in Riyadh and stating that he would face charges in the Specialized Criminal Court.Abu al-Khair received the charge sheet on October 6, which lists at least six charges related to his peaceful human rights activity, including “setting up an unlicensed organization” and “breaking allegiance with the ruler.”
On October 2, police arrested Abu al-Khair and initiated a third criminal case against him for having links with pro-reform activists and hosting them in his home for weekly discussion groups.Authorities released him on bail on October 4.
In January 2013, Abu al-Khair was awarded the Olof Palme Prize for his “strong, self-sacrificing and sustained struggle to promote respect for human and civil rights for both men and women in Saudi Arabia.” After authorities prevented him from traveling to the awards ceremony in Stockholm, his wife, Samar Badawi, accepted the prize on his behalf on January 25 2013.