Friday, October 26, 2007

Actúa Ya!!!!!!!!! - Fear of Flogging/ Prisoners of conscience/ Torture and other ill-treatment

Three unnamed men

Amnesty International has received reports that two men have been
sentenced by a court in al-Baha in south-western Saudi Arabia to 7,000
lashes each for sexual intercourse. A third man was said to have been
sentenced to 450 lashes for drug related offences by the same court.

The three men, whose names have not been made public, are reported to
have received part of their sentence and have been subjected to
flogging. The men continue to be at imminent risk of further flogging,
possibly in stages, to complete their sentences.

The punishment of these men constitutes torture. Amnesty International
considers those imprisoned solely for their sexual orientation to be
prisoners of conscience.


Flogging is mandatory in Saudi Arabia for a number of offences,
including sexual offences, and can also be used at the discretion of
judges as an alternative or addition to other punishments. Sentences
can range from dozens to thousands of lashes, and are usually carried
out in instalments, at intervals ranging from two weeks to one month.

In commenting on corporal punishments like flogging, the Special
Rapporteur on Torture stated that "corporal punishment is inconsistent
with the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment." The imposition of large numbers of lashes as
in these cases is in particular violation of the prohibition of
torture. The prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment or punishment is absolute under international law is
considered customary international law. Saudi Arabia is a party to the
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and is therefore in violation of its
treaty obligations when imposing such punishments, in addition to
violating customary law.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Using your own words, please choose a few of the
suggestions below to create a personal appeal and send it as quickly
as possible:

- expressing grave concern at reports that the men have been flogged
and are at risk of further flogging;

- calling for the sentences to be commuted regardless of the offence
for which they have been handed down;

- expressing concern that two men appear to have been punished solely
for their sexual orientation, which would make them prisoners of
conscience, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

- calling on the authorities to halt all floggings immediately, as the
use of corporal punishment constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading
punishment, in violation of Saudi Arabia's obligations as a state
party to CAT and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, which states: ''No one shall be subjected to torture or to
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment";

- urging that all three men be given appropriate medical attention


King Abdullah Bin `Abdul `Aziz Al-Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty The King
Royal Court
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Salutation: Your Majesty

His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin `Abdul `Aziz Al-Saud
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
P.O. Box 2933
Airport Road
Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: 011 966 1403 1185 / 3614

Salutation: Your Royal Highness

His Excellency Dr Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
University Street
Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: 011 966 1401 1741

Salutation: Your Excellency

His Royal Highness Prince Saud al-Faisal bin `Abdul `Aziz Al-Saud
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nasseriya Street
Riyadh 11124
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: 011 966 1403 0645

Salutation: Your Royal Highness


Mr Turki bin Khaled Al-Sudairy
The President
The Human Rights Commission
PO Box 58889, Riyadh 11515
King Fahad Road
Building No.373
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: 011 966 14612061

His Excellency Abdulaziz H.I. ALSOWAYEGH
Ambassador for Saudi Arabia
201 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1K6

Fax: (613) 237-0567