US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Saudi Arabia “During the year, the following significant human rights problems were reported: no right to peacefully change the government; infliction of severe pain by judicially sanctioned corporal punishments; beatings and other abuse; arbitrary arrest and detention, sometimes incommunicado; denial of fair public trials; political prisoners; exemption for the rule of law for some individuals and lack of judicial independence; restrictions on civil liberties such as the freedoms of speech, including the Internet, assembly, association, movement, and religion; corruption and lack of government transparency. Violence against women and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity were common. Limitations on the rights of foreign workers remained a severe problem.” More…
Saudi Activists Face Long Fight for Human Rights by Betsy Hiel (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – May 27, 2007) DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia — In this oil-rich desert kingdom where public beheading, flogging and stoning remain punishments, Ibrahim Al-Mugaiteeb has his work cut out.
He’s been imprisoned and barred from travel for condemning human rights abuses. Yet the president of the independent Human Rights First Society won’t be quiet.
“My youngest grandchild is 3 years old,” he says. “She deserves to live in a better Saudi Arabia.
“They can throw me in jail, they can shoot me, but I cannot stop my activity. There are no human rights here.”
Slight openings in this closed society have encouraged some Saudis. The news media are freer to report on official corruption and human rights abuses — although journalists are careful not to criticize the royal family. King Abdullah has spoken openly of reform. The country held its first municipal elections in 2005.
Yet, when a group of reformers recently called for political and social change, including a constitutional monarchy, they were arrested. More…