Open letter from Vienna

Open letter from Vienna

Posted: 21st November 2015 By: Evelyne Abitbol Category: News Comment: 0

The Austrian Green Party wrote an open letter to the Chancellor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs after Ensaf Haidar has visited Vienna this October. We are grateful and excited about this initiative.

Open letter of the Green Party to the Austrian Chancellor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs

October 9th, 2015

Dear Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Foreign Minister,
The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has now been in detention for more then three years, although he did nothing wrong but to execute his right of free spech – a human right. He still is at a high risk for public flogging. This week, we had the privilege of meeting in Vienna his courageous and extraordinarily strong wife Ensaf Haidar, who works worldwide tirelessly for his release.

In November 20, 2015 it will be exactly one year, that the Austrian National Council unanimously requested the federal government, together with the EU member states, to demand from Saudi Arabia the cancellation of this inhumane penalty, his immediate release and an amnesty for Raif Badawi. If Raif Badawi and his lawyer, Waleed Abu Al Khair, fall into oblivion, this could carry deadly consequences for the both of them.

At this point in time, no activities of the federal government or the minister of foreign affairs are known to us. The number of executions of political dissidents in Saudi Arabia has increased. It needs a clear and public signal now to conveye the message, that grave human rights violations are completly inacceptable, be it from the ” Islamic State” or the judicial system of Saudi Arabia.

Despite the so-called New Beginning of the KAICIID, it continues to decline to take a stand in regards to the case of Raif Badawi; the flogging of women, as well as the sentencing, upcoming execution and public display of the corpse of Ali al-Nimr – although he was only 17 years old at the time and therefore under the protection of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

There is no new orientation of the centre- as requested by the federal governement – to speak of. Furthermore, it appears almost to openly disregard the directive of the National Council, which clearly demanded the federal government to press harder for the release of Raif Badawi and Al Khair.

Without a clear signal to Saudia Arabia, that democratic states will not tolerate these kind of human rights violations, Austria also abandons and betrays the liberal and enlightened voices in the Arabic Region and worldwide. Furthermore it loses its credibility in regards to the fight against terrorism and religious fundamentalists.

We emphetically ask you to send this crucial and publicly noticable signal to Saudi Arabia. Not only do you fulfill the directive of the National Council of Austria, you also strengthen the position of Raif Badawi and all other liberal and democratic lines of thought in the Arab world. You will also strengthen the legitimacy in the fight against fundamentalism and terrorism.

Best regards,
Eva Glawischnig (MP and chairwoman of the Austrian Green Party), MP Alev Korun and MP Tanja Windbüchler-Souschill
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