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January 20, 2016

Saudi Arabia: Free Poet facing execution!

type: Petition
by: Deniz Zehra Tavli

Ashraf, a 35-year-old poet and artist, is sentenced to be executed by Saudi Arabian authorities for his art.

He was initially arrested in 2013 following a complaint registered against him by another Saudi citizen, who said that the poet was promoting atheism and spreading blasphemous ideas among young people. Ashraf was released the following day, but then rearrested in 2014, when he was charged with 'apostasy' – he had supposedly questioned religion and spread atheist thought with his poetry. In consequence the General Court sentenced him to death.

Throughout this whole process, Ashraf was denied access to a lawyer – a clear violation of international human rights law, as well as Saudi Arabia’s national laws.

Apostasy (Riddah, in Arabic) is the renouncing of Islam. Saudi Arabia follows Sharia (Islamic) law, and ‘apostasy’ can be punishable by death. Yet ‘apostasy’ is not a crime – it is a violation of someone’s right to belief or choose our own religion. It should never incur punishment.

The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – it violates our right to life and our right to be free from torture. Sign Amnestay International's petition to demand the freedom of Ashraf and give Saudi Arabian authorieties a signal to act according the international law!