A Saudi woman is campaigning for her husband’s human rights

Saudi human rights activist, Samar Badawi and her husband Waleed Abul-Khair

By Iqbal Tamimi

Saudi human rights activist, Samar
Badawi, who received  the prestigious
“Women of Courage Award” from the US State Department after she filed
a lawsuit against her father challenging the kingdom’s rigid guardian system
for women, is campaigning now for her husband’s rights of self-expression.

{jcomments on} The
couple share an inspiring story of love and courage, and their struggle for
reform is offering a voice for the voiceless and they represent the new
generation of educated Saudis who are aspiring for better future for all.

Badawi, was supported by her
husband, lawyer and prominent activist, Waleed Abul-Khair, when she filed lawsuits
against the Saudi government demanding rights for women to vote and drive. Now,
she is campaigning for his rights after he was accused yesterday, Monday 4 June
2012 by Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor of ‘disrespecting’ judiciary and ‘contacting
foreign organisations’ and signing a petition demanding the release of
detainees as his wife told AFP by telephone.

Abul-Khair was summoned by the
prosecutor in the city of Jeddah who accused him of “disrespecting the
judiciary system… contacting foreign organisations and signing a petition
demanding the release of detainees,” some of whom are being held over
terror links, Samar Badawi said.

If charged, Abul-Khair, could be
jailed for between six months and a year. He will appear again to “respond
to the accusations” late in August, she said.

In March, Saudi authorities
banned Abul-Khair from travelling to the United States where he had been due to
attend a forum organised by the US State Department.

 In February 2011, he signed two petitions
demanding political reform in the kingdom.

Abul-Khair has also created a
group on social networking website Facebook – Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi
– which has more than 5,000 members. According to the US-based Human Rights Watch,
access to the group’s page on Facebook has been blocked.

 

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