Jailed Saudi lawyer wins prestigious human rights prize

Waleed Abu al-Khair in one of weekly Salons he hosted at house in Jeddah in 2012- TIME video

Waleed Abu al-Khair in one of weekly Salons he hosted at house in Jeddah in 2012- TIME video

The Law Society is pleased to report that human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair has been awarded the Ludovic Trarieux Prize, an annual legal award which was first won by Nelson Mandela when he was imprisoned in South Africa.

However, al-Khair remains detained, sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, solely related to his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities and exercise of his profession as a lawyer.

No evidence was presented and no allegations were made that he had engaged in or promoted any violence or caused any harm to any person. Moreover he was representing others who had been detailed by the Saudi authorities including Raif Badawi, the Saudi human rights blogger, who was sentenced imprisonment and to be flogged 1,000 times.

The President of The Law Society has previously written to King Salman about the Society’s concern that these incidents are directly related to Mr. AI-Khair’s action to protect the rights of other prisoners. He had already written earlier to protest at his incarceration and the failure of the Saudi authorities to respect international norms in relation to his detention, conviction and sentence to 15 years in prison breaching the UDHR, The Arab Charter of Human Rights and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The Law Society would like to reiterate its concerns over the detention and treatment of al-Khair and urges the Saudi Arabian head of state to reconsider.

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