Saudi-Arabia: ANHRI Demands the Immediate Release of the Blogger “Ra’ef Badwi”

Cairo February 18, 2013

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), denounces procrastination of the authorities regarding the case of “Ra’ef Badwi”, as the the penal court issued a decision on Sunday February 17, 2013, of its lack of jurisdiction to review the case.

The penal court in Jeddah, issued a decision of the lack of jurisdiction to review the case in the hearing held on February 17, 2013, the founder of the liberal network. “Badwi” is facing charges of “violating the public order, violating the Islamic values, insulting God, insulting and mocking the religious figures including the grand Mufti of Saudi-Arabia”.

The court in January 21, issued a decision of returning “Badwi” to the penal code for reasons that the judges didn’t verify that he insulted the God or the prophet. As on December 17, 2012, the penal court issued a decision to send the case of the blogger to the public court in Jeddah for the lack of jurisdiction as the prosecution demanded to apply the punishment of apostasy as it is a result of the judge rejection to describe the crime as an electronic crime, despite the claim was basically based upon the activity of “Badwi” on the Internet and establishing the liberal network website.

On Sunday the lawyer called to send the case to the court of appeal to determine the court of jurisdiction in addition to the release of the defendant who is languishing in prison since several months as a result of the authorities intransigences with him regarding some legal violations in the case which was total refused by the judge.

ANHRI said that “the decision issued by the penal court regarding the lack of jurisdiction as the public court, proves the huge deficiencies in the Saudi regime and using it to serve the ruling regime to silence the opposition”.

ANHRI said that “the rejection of releasing “Badawi” by the court until determine the court of jurisdiction due to a legal deficiency, as he should be benefited from, but he is in prison since months, despite some legal violations in reviewing the case as the hearing were adjourned to unknown dates with holding him in custody, which violates all the laws that allow to not specifying the date of the next hearing in case of the defendant wasn’t in the prison, which prove that case is politicized”.

ANHRI calls on the immediate release of “Badawi” and the drop of all the charges pressed on him, in addition to call the actors in the world to press the regime in order to respect the freedom of expression.

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