Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hadi Said Al-Matif: defaming Prophet Muhammad

A petition from The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Too many liberals ignore Arab liberals.
Arab human rights organisations, journalists, and activists call upon Saudi King to release a Saudi citizen in jail since 15 years ago

Cairo - 3 February 2007

Arab human rights organisations, journalists, bloggers, and activists who participated in the training workshop "blogging and human rights" in Sana'a, Yemen on 26-28 January 2007, call upon King Abdullah Ben Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia to release the prisoner Hadi Said Al-Matif who was Jailed in Negran since 1992 for being accused of "defaming Prophet Muhammad".

The undersigned urge the king to find the fifteen years he spent in prison sufficient, especially that his health and psychological status are deteriorating to the extent that Al-Matif has frequently attempted to commit suicide.

The petition filed by human rights organizations, journalists, and activists is below:

His Majesty, King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz Al Saud
King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Royal Diwan
Riyadh 11111
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Your Majesty,
Human rights organizations, journalists, and activists meeting in Sana'a, Yemen urge your majesty to release the Saudi prisoner Hadi Said Al Matif. Al-Matif was charged for a statement that was misunderstood to be defaming the Prophet Muhammad in 1992. He was 18 years-old, then. This case is marked by significant violations against the accused in respect with his basic human right to have a fair trial. We urge you to employ your power to release him and find the fifteen years he served in prison to be satisfactory. Such respectable action by your majesty shall be a continuation of the role you played when you declined to approve the retribution ruling in 1999.

The undersigned while calling for releasing Hadi, confirm that the basic standard of justice is the principle of proportionality between penalty and crime. In Al-Matif's case, saying one sentence- regardless of its grossness - can never lead to accusing him of apostasy. The fifteen years which Al-Matif served in prison is thus a cruel punishment and should be eliminated.

His imprisonment for so many long years has led to the deterioration of Al-Matif's psychological state, necessitating his release, especially according to witnesses he has attempted suicide four times. With the deterioration of his health conditions, the undersigned believe that his ongoing imprisonment may discredit the Suadi Justice, particularly that reports confirmed the absence of neutrality and fair trial regulations during the trial of Al-Matif at the end of the last century.

Your Majesty,
The signatories on this petition urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately take the following measures:
Release Hadi Said Al Matif immediately by ordering your satisfaction of the term Al-Matif served in prison
Provide Hadi Al Matif with necessary health care and respect his right to life.
Allow his family members and lawyers to visit him
Not to broaden the use of apostasy charge to any person according to mere interpretive judgments away from clear legal stipulations.
We would like to thank you in advance for showing interest in this important case.

Sincerely, Signatories:


1- Nabil Abdul Rab Al-Ewidy Center for the Rehabilitation and Protection of Press Freedom Yemen
2- Samia Al-Aghiry Journalist from Al-Wahdawy Newspaper Yemen
3- Mohamed Sadek Al-Oudainy Center for the Rehabilitation and Protection of Press Freedom
4- Radia Al-Motokel Yemeni Organization for the Defense of Democratic Rights and Freedoms Yemen
5- Waleed Abdul Hafeez Majed Human Rights Activist Yemen
Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights Bahrain
Marwa Yousif Human Rights Activist Bahrain
Rasha Ali Human Rights Activist Bahrain
Rabab Mansour Human Rights Activist Bahrian
Rehab Abdul Rahman Human Rights Activist Yemen
Mohamed Al-Othman Journalist Bahrain
Mastoor Mohamed Ali Al-Gerady Shura-Net newspaper Yemen
Mohamed Mosed El-Saleh Mareb Press Yemen
Said Hary Al-Mansour Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Saada Ghalaya Journalist Yemen
Ghida'a El-Sabry Journalist Yemen
Shaimaa Mahmoud Awad Journalist Yemen
Nawal Mousa Al-Yousif Editor-in-chef of Saudi-Net newspaper Saudi Arabia
Gamal Eid The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Egypt
Saleh Ali Amer Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Ali Mohamed Al Hilla Human Rights Activist Saudi Arabia
Ali Mahdi Khattab Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Morad El-Gharatty Civil Observatory of Human Rights Yemen

CC: His Excellency, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Cairo/ Hisham Mohey El-din Nazer

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