The morning of March 9th turned dark for many Saudis when the judge in Mohammed F. Al Qahtani and Abdullah Al Hamid’s trial ruled that they be sentenced for about ten years each and be banned from travelling for years after they are released. All this because they were active in the Arabian Civil and Political Rights Association, ACPRA. Even though they have both started serving their sentences, there is still hope in the appeal. It is disheartening and frightening to be a citizen of a country where people can be legally charged and punished for talking to foreign press or starting a government independent human rights association. Background on the case can be read on Riyadh Bureau or in this CNN piece by Mohammed Jamjoom. Mohammed Al Qahtani’s interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour a couple of weeks back is also worth watching.
Here, I thought I would cover a bit on how the court’s ruling was received by influential Saudis online.
Essam Al Zamil, an economist and blogger, created an online poll to get a feel of how the public took the judge’s ruling. As of writing this post, about 10,000 have taken part and 85% state that the ruling was unjust.
الاستطلاع ما زال مفتوحا.. شارك فيه حتى الآن اكثر من 3200. والنتيجة ما زالت 84% ضد الحكم الصادر على حسم.bit.ly/13LmLes#محاكمة_حسم
— عصام الزامل (@essamz) March 9, 2013
Tawfeeq Al Saif, a political analyst and civil rights activist, tweets apparently addressing the government: Consider the course of events? Did former prison sentences result in killing hope for reforms? Have Saudis become more determined to reform or more afraid of you?
تاملوا في مسار الاحداث.هل نفعت سجونكم السابقة في قتل الامل بالاصلاح؟. هل اصبح السعوديون اكثر عزما على الاصلاح ام اكثر خوفا منكم؟#محاكمة_حسم
— توفيق السيف (@t_saif) March 9, 2013
Hala Al Dosari, a writer and human rights activist, tweets that this trial sends a message to Saudis that a peaceful solution is unacceptable and punishable by law and that judges have the powers to go beyond regulations and that the judiciary is politicized.
#محاكمة_حسم ما يقوله له لنا الحكم أن الحل السلمي مرفوض و يعاقب عليه القانون و ان القضاة لهم صلاحيات تعزير تتعدى الأنظمة و أن القضاء مسيّس
— هالة الدوسري (@Hala_Aldosari) March 9, 2013
Ahmed Baaboud, a fellow blogger, tweets that he will tell his daughter Jori about Abdullah Al Hamid; that he will tell her that Al Hamid sacrificed for her without knowing her, only so that she might have a better tomorrow, just so that the sun may shine some day.
غداً سأخبر جوري عن عبدالله الحامد.. سأحكي لها أنه ضحى من أجلها و هو لا يعرفها.. فقط لكي يكون غدها أفضل.. فقط لتشرق الشمس يوماً #محاكمة_حسم
— أحمد باعبود (@a_baaboud) March 9, 2013
Ahmed Adnan, a journalist and author, tweets he is against the judge’s ruling and doesn’t respect it, and also against ACPRA and doesn’t respect them. (Presumably because ACPRA did not speak out on Kashgari’s case and they were slow to respond in Turki Al Hamad’s case, both of whom were arrested for writing what some consider blasphemous in Islam).
انا ضد أحكام #محاكمة_حسم ولا أحترمها، وأيضا انا ضد #حسم ولا أحترمها
— ahmed adnan (@wddahaladab) March 9, 2013
Mohammed Al Ajamie, a Twitter activist, tweets that he feels the frustration that the families of the political prisoners feel at the imprisonment of Al Hamid and Al-Qahtani because of how secure they felt with their presence after the elites abandoned these families.
أشعر بالروح المحبطة التي أصيب بها أهالي المعتقلين بعد سجن الحامد والقحطاني فهم كانوا يشعرون بالأمان بوجودهم لتخلي النخب عنهم#محاكمة_حسم
— محمد العجيمي(@MoAlojaimi) March 9, 2013
Ibraheem Al Modamigh, an attorney, tweets that today’s ruling leaves no room for doubt that the judiciary is politicized and is not independent and that any neutral careful reading of the ruling will reach this disappointing and unfortunate result.
حكم اليوم لا يدع مجالا للشك فى أن القضاء مسيًس وغير مستقل والقرائة المتأنية المحايدة للحكم توصل لهذه النتيجة المحبطة والمؤسفه
— إبراهيم المديميغ (@imodattorney) March 9, 2013
Fouad Al Farhan, a human rights activist and blogger, tweets that the judge’s decision to dissolve ACPRA and confiscate their property is an invitation to the public to work in secret and shows that they hate clarity, openness and peaceful public action.
قرار القاضي بحل جمعية حسم ومصادرة ممتلكاتها هي دعوة منه للجمهور للتوجه للعمل السرّي..يكرهون الوضوح والصراحة والعمل السلمي العلني #محاكمة_حسم
— فؤاد الفرحان (@alfarhan) March 9, 2013
Abdulla Al Maliki, a political activist eloquently tweets that glory, pride and history is for Al-Hamid and Al-Qahtani and that we now lost the shade of their roofs but the roof will always remain high as long as there are souls hungry for freedom and justice ..
المجد والفخر والتاريخ للحامد والقحطاني .. كنا سنتظل بسقفهما .. ولكن سيبقى السقف مرتفعا ما دام أن هناك أرواحا متعطشة للحرية والعدالة ..
— عبدالله المالكي (@iAbuhesham) March 9, 2013
Badr Al Jaafri, a lawyer, tweets that Rights .. freedom .. dignity .. justice .. are what ACPRA is made of and that these well-established values cannot be dissolved and confiscated even if some believe otherwise.
الحقوق..الحرية..الكرامة..العدالة .. هذه ممتلكات حسم .. هي قيم راسخة في الوجدان .. غير قابلة للانتزاع والمصادرة وإن بدا غير ذلك
— بدر الجعفري (@BadrAljaafari) March 9, 2013
Dr. Salman Al Oudah, famous sheikh, tweets that imprisonments and sacrifices only ingrain ideas, draw people together, and make media substance for those near and far.
السجون والتضحيات ترسخ الأفكار وتجمع الناس حولها.. وتجعلها مادة إعلامية للقريب والبعيد. #محاكمة_حسم
— د. سلمان العودة (@salman_alodah) March 9, 2013
Fayed Al Olaiwi, a columnist and author, tweets that the secret to the rise of Malaysia is in Mahathir’s success in the abolition of the royal veto and lifting the immunity of the royal family and entourage and thus the judiciary became independent and eliminated corruption!
سر نهضة ماليزيا في نجاح مهاتير في إلغاء الفيتو الملكي ورفع الحصانة عن الأسرة وحاشيتها وبالتالي استقل القضاء وقضي على الفساد! #محاكمة_حسم
— فايد العليوي (@fayedalolaiwi) March 9, 2013
Mohammed Al Dugalaibi, a public relations specialist, tweets to whom it may concern to not let it occur to them, even for a moment, that the eagerness to arrest reformers and the feeble attempts to obscure facts will discourage the resolve of the free.
لا يخطر ببالك ولو للحظة واحدة بأن شبقك إلى إعتقال المصلحين وتزييفك الواهن للحقيقة سيثني من عزيمة الأحرار. #إلى_من_يهمه_اﻷمر #محاكمة_حسم
— محمد الدغيلبي (@dugailbi) March 9, 2013
Dr. Kassab Al Otabi, a political activist, tweets that our generation is aware and they will remember these scenes of injustice and tyranny and systematic attempts at indoctrination but we will not kneel nor will we forget and forgive.
جيلُنا واعٍ وستختزن ذاكرته مشاهد الظُلم والاستبداد ومُحاولات التطويع المُمنهجة. لكنه لن يركع ولن ينسى ولن يغفر. وأنّى له ذلك؟ #محاكمة_حسم
— د. كساب العتيبي (@Dr_Kassab) March 9, 2013
Ahmed Abu Dahman, a novelist and poet, tweets that a government that arrests its peaceful opponents will also arrest its supporters and its relatives; it will die alone. Qaddafi is an example.
#محاكمة_حسم النظام الذي يسجن معارضيه السلميين سيعتقل مناصريه . سيعتقل ذويه . سيموت وحيداً . القذافي نموذجاً .
— أحمد أبو دهمان(@abodehman) March 9, 2013
Ibraheem Al Qahtani, a blogger and comedian, wonders that now that Al Hamid and Al Qahtani have been imprisoned, will development in the country suddenly grow a six pack. (This is in reference to one of the charges against them that they obstructed development).
الحين اذا تم سجن الحامد والقحطاني مفروض ان التنمية عندنا يطلع لها “سكس باك” من كثر النشاط ولا؟
— إبراهيم القحطاني (@brhom) March 10, 2013
Sultan Al Fifi, an activist, tweets how much of the country’s resources have Al Hamid and Al Qahtani stolen, how much land have they fenced up, how many corrupt arms deals have they dealt? What have they done to deserve such a ruling?
كم شبكتما من الأراضي.. كم سرقتما من المال العام.. كم أبرمتما من صفقات التسلح الفاسدة.. ماذا فعلتما لتستحقا مثل هذا الحكم؟#محاكمة_حسم
— سلطان الفيفي (@SultanAlfifi) March 9, 2013
Abdullah Al Alami, an author, columnist and economist, tweets that we must all know the truth that if these rulings were in a poverty stricken country we would have seen Mr. John Kerry on TV denouncing that country’s human rights violations.
حقيقة يجب ان نعرفها: لو ان الأحكام صدرت في بلد فقير، لكان السيد جون كيري الآن يندد على شاشات التلفزيون بانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان في ذلك البلد
— عبدالله العلَمي (@AbdullaAlami) March 9, 2013
Saeed Al Wahabi, an author, tweets that it would be to the government’s benefit that they confront open and public civil associations in the light of day rather than resorting to dark tactics and wonders if they’ve forgotten the years of terrorism.
من صالحك يا دولة إنك تواجهي مؤسسة مجتمع مدني معروف أعضائها ونشاطها في النور بدلاً من حراك الظلام ، نسينا سنوات الإرهاب #محاكمة_حسم
— سعيد الوهابي (@S_Alwahabi) March 9, 2013
18 responses to “Public reaction to ACPRA trial”
Reblogged this on Al-Must'arib (a vocational Mossarab's notes) and commented:
Prosecution, attempts to censor those who ask for simple human rights and control them, can be only a temporary delay, eventually more useful for the cause of human rights than negative… freedom, like water, finds its own ways. It’s just a matter of time.
From one end of Western Civilization to the other, this game of “One Hand Washing the Other” must end !
Support a Socialist Islamic Republic of Arabia !
Support a Coalition of Socialist Arab States !
Support the Arab Winter !
What does any country in the middle east have to do with western civilization? I hope you do not think of Saudi Arabia as a “western civilization”!
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword
The Saudi autocratic ruling royals and their draconian religious judicial system continue to prove that they are incapable of governing peacefully. Their severe and lengthy sentencing of two prominent democracy promoters and human rights activists Mohammed Fahd al-Qahtani and Abdullah Hamad on March 9, 2013 is indicative of the system’s anti-peaceful political reforms and social justice nature. Instead of responding to their repressed citizens’ demands for emancipation from political and religious totalitarianism, the Saudi ruling elites continue to silence the voices of reason.
At a time when most Arabs are revolting against draconian ruling methods and practices of repressive and corrupt regimes, the Saudi monarchy is strengthening its grip on power. As exemplified by the system’s unnecessary, unjustified and punishing sentencing of Al-Qahtani and Hamad, two enlightened patriot founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, the system is determined to continue a policy that will force the population to resort to violence to obtain their political rights which is shaping up.
In recent years, the Saudi people are becoming increasingly bold in challenging the Saudi royals’ heavy-handedness, corruption and legitimacy. Examples of people’s demands and defiance are taking place all over the country. Religious minorities in the oil rich eastern Saudi Arabia are demonstrating against their government’s discriminatory policies toward them and in the process some of them get killed by the State’s ruthless security apparatus. Families and supporters of prisoners, including women and children, are demonstrating in Central Saudi Arabia, the bastion of the Saudi regime’s and its religious establishment’s power-base. Instead of trying or releasing their loved ones, the ubiquitous system’s security personnel collected them and threw them in prison because all forms of peaceful expressions are banned in the Saudi Kingdom.
Female college students in Asir, the lush Southern Region, are demonstrating violently against the government’s corruption, neglect and abuses by the educational system and its discriminatory policies against women.
The monarchy’s responses to people’s legitimate demands consist of violence, handouts and window dressing steps which most Saudi males and females don’t take seriously or hold high hopes that things will change peacefully. Instead of living in an incredible and indecipherable denial, the Saudi rulers, especially their educated men and women offspring, ought to look across their borders and see that it’s only a matter of time before their people resort to the only option available to other Arabs, violence.
Thank you, as ever, for a view on what is taking place in S.A.
I would hope there was enough wisdom on all sides that the country could move forward, peacefully. The trial results, especially in their extremity, suggests otherwise.
I wish that i were optimistic.
Too little, too late, is often the story when it comes to change, with the moderates being crushed between immovable authority and crescendo’s of resentment.
May S.A find it’s way peacefully.
Change is seldom Peaceful; While Peace itself, is more a tool of the Rich and Influential, than any Savoir of the Average.
Support the Arab Winter !
it is time that the saudi arabian hierachy took a look at their people and show more understanding and tolerance
Thank you very much for providing insight into the Saudi reaction to this miscarriage of justice. My sympathies go to these victims and their families.
does anybody know how many wives our great king has?
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interesting story and insights – hope things will change for the better as women across the globe deserve a better chance. We certainly feel their pain and frustration in this region from the kind of help they seek through our facebook page – it is so unfortunate how they cling to horoscopes to know what the future hides, and for that matter we are always careful as what to advice as human beings first, stressing on the fact that horoscopes are only for entertainment – we’re trying hard to let women rely on themselves, and do something instead of sitting back and read about what the future brings – deep down they know it but they lack encouragement and self confidence.
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we do not need disclosures, presenters of information “stereotypical” prepared beforehand, but people who speak from the heart “to feel, be alive with them”
peoples who are using stereotypes has something to hide, pursuing a purpose ………….
human person who speaks openly by heart has nothing to hide is living with others
is the maturity test of maturity that we have to get each of us
honesty is the business card
no time for lies
will you be part at the team?
look at Sweden – Land of Politicians Without Privileges is instructive you tube
in Denmark my scooter is not lock
I lost a glove after a week I found it almost in the same place to find who lost it, it was put in a view place ” You shall not steal.”
when I go to friends or come to me wallet with money sit on sight without fear that somone will be stolen
why in some countries almost nobody not steal?
what they have more then others?
is something to learn from others?
after your deeds seen who you are
and if you add graduate taxes you can found (there are) money for the fight against poverty, hunger, …….. from some areas,money for culture, planting trees, hydropower, …….”climate changing” actions……
so are actual the words
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
“You must love your neighbor as yourself.”
“On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too.”
history is written moment by moment
stinginess, pride, ……….. or intimate relationship with God ……….?
“What is impossible for human beings is possible for God.”
List of sovereign states – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(free texts to be published -“Misinformation is a weapon information is also a weapon”)
“divide and conquer” belongs to the jewish, islamic, christian religion?
belongs to God?
or those who have forgotten God?
Great blog right here! Also your web site a lot up very fast!
What host are you the usage of? Caan I am getting
your associate hyperlink in your host? I want my website loaded up as fast ass yours lol
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