“The EU must stand united against human rights abuses by the Saudi authorities.”
Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, has called for EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to take all necessary steps to secure the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, including liberal blogger Raif Badawi.
In a letter to the EU's foreign policy chief Mogherini, signed by over 100 MEPs, Alyn urged for stronger rhetoric against the flogging and detention of Badawi, whose case is currently under review by a criminal court. If charged with apostasy, Badawi could face death penalty.
"If we are true friends of the Saudi people we should not shy away from asking the Saudi regime to free prisoners of conscience like Raif Badawi. Our values oblige us to be truthful and to be vocal about the systematic, deliberate and widespread human rights abuses going on within that country. We therefore should reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia and ensure that core human rights commitments are adhered to by all our partners.
“In her speech to the UN Human Rights Council, EU High Representative Mogherini stopped short from explicitly calling on countries like Saudi Arabia to release prisoners of conscience. It’s only right that members of the European Parliament press for a strong message from the EU foreign policy chief. The EU must stand united against human rights abuses by the Saudi authorities.
"Saudi Arabia must release Raif Badawi, and I hope King Salman's latest royal order to review Saudi Arabia's judicial code and criminal procedures will bring more protection for individual rights and personal freedoms."
A joint letter to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini is available here: