UPDATE: Malaysia: Kartika released, caning sentence postponed

On 20 August, the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang Shariah Court ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno be remanded at the Kajang women’s prison in the state of Selangor from Monday, 24 August. Madam Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, had been sentenced to six strokes of the cane and fined RM5,000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleaded guilty to consuming beer two years ago at a hotel in Pahang. Madam Kartika has since been released, but the sentence of caning is reportedly still due to be carried out and has only been postponed until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Action needed: 
Please send your message to the Malaysian authorities, embassies in your country, and UN representatives via fax, email, telephone or letter.

Below is an excerpt from the statement by Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia, and their sample letter:

STOP WHIPPING, END CORPORAL PUNISHMENT FOR ALL OFFENCES

21 August 2009

Women’s Groups urges the government of Malaysia to review caning as a form of judicial punishment under the Common and Syariah legal systems. In the case of Kartika, it constitutes further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia and violates Constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination as whipping of women under Shariah Criminal Offences legislation contradicts civil law where women are not punishable by caning under Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

There is no consensus among Muslim scholars on the range of crimes for which whipping is prescribed, nor on whether women should be whipped. Nor is whipping for consuming alcohol considered proportionate to the gravity of the offence. Sisters In Islam (SIS) in their press statement on 23 July 2009 have said:

“SIS believes that Islam as a religion of compassion calls people to the way of God with wisdom, as expressed in Surah An-Nahl,16:125 , “Invite all to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and reason with them in the ways that are best and most gracious.”

“The goal of Islamic authorities is to prevent crime in the first place, not to inflict severe punishment as a first resort. Promoting and protecting the human rights of the ummah, ensuring socio-economic justice, educating the ummah about God’s teachings and laws in order that they become responsible for abiding by them out of faith are prerequisites before any punishment can be implemented. SIS further added today “That Kartika has expressed remorse should move the Malauysian authorities to emulate God’s attributes of compassion (rahmah) and mercy (rahim), especially within the holy month of Ramadhan”.

In conclusion, the women’s groups below reiterate that corporal punishment whether for men or women violates human rights principles, in particular the right to be free from cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment or punishment.

The Malaysian government should immediately revoke the sentence to cane Kartika and abolish the practice of corporal punishment.

Signed by:

1. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO). *P.O. Box 493 Jalan Sultan, 46760 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 7957 5636 / 0636 Fax: +60 3 7956 3237 Email: wao@po.jaring.my*

1. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (PKKS), 13 Lorong 4/48E, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 778449777 Fax: + 60 3 77844978 Email: empower05@gmail.com

1. Sisters in Islam (SIS), 7 Jalan 6/10, Petaling Jaya, 46000 Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: + 60 3 77856121 Fax: +60 3 77858737 Email: sisters@sistersinislam.org.my

1. All Women's Action Society, 85 Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 78774221 Email : awam@awam.org.my

WAO's Sample letter

Dear Madam/Sir,

Revoke the sentence on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno and abolish corporal punishment

We are writing to you to express our concern that a Malaysian citizen Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has been sentenced by the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang to receive six (6) strokes of caning for consuming alcohol.

We urge the Malaysian government to revoke this sentence. Executing this sentence will amount to the torture of an individual by the state and contradicts Malaysia’s international commitments to uphold human rights principles.

We further urge the Malaysian government to review existing provisions in the State and Federal laws so as to abolish corporal punishment.

We urge the Government of Malaysia to continue to uphold human rights as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Yours Sincerely,

{your name / organization}

You can add that you are deeply concerned about the increased state-imposed violence exemplified by Madam Kartika’s case. As a member state of the United Nations, Malaysia has agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). By detaining and caning Madam Kartika, we believe Malaysia violates the following articles of the UDHR:

• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks (Article 12).

• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 5).

Addresses: 
Embassies

You can find the embassy of Malaysia in your country here: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Malaysia

UN Representatives

Ms. Rashida Manjoo
The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Ms. Asma Jahangir
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
c/o Office Of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: (+41 22) 917 90 06
E-mail: freedomofreligion@ohchr.org or to urgent-action@ohchr.org (please include in the subject box: Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief)

Mr. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on Torture
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

The government of Malaysia

Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister's Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building,
Fax: 03-88883444
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
E-Mail: ppm@pmo.gov.my
62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
Attorney-General of Malaysia
Fax : 03-8890 5670
Attorney General's Chambers of Malaysia
E-Mail: ag@agc.gov.my
No. 45, Persiaran Perdana, Presint 4,
62100 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel : 603 - 8872 2000,

Y.B. Senator Dato' Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil
Minister of Women, Family and Community Development
Fax: 03-2693 8564
Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development
E-Mail: shahrizat@kpwkm.gov.my
Aras 1-6, Blok E,
Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan Bukit Perdana, Jalan Dato' Onn,
50515 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2693 0095

Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Musa Bin Dato' Hj. Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
Fax: 03 - 2070 7500
50560 Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03 - 2262 6222

UPDATE: Malaysia: URGENT appeal for intervention to stay sentence of caning

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned to learn that the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang Shariah Court has ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno be remanded at the Kajang women’s prison in the state of Selangor from Monday, 24 August. Madam Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, has been sentenced to six strokes of the cane and fined RM5,000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleaded guilty to consuming beer two years ago at a hotel in Pahang.
Source: 
WLUML networkers
Action needed: 
Please send your message to the Malaysian authorities, embassies in your country, and UN representatives via fax, email, telephone or letter.

Sample letter

Dear Sir / Dear Madam,

We are deeply concerned to learn that Madam Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, is to be detained for seven days effective 24 August 2009. The Syariah High Court has issued a warrant of arrest ordered for women's prison in Kajang, before receiving six strokes of the rotan. Reports indicate this would make her one of the first woman to be caned in this way in Malaysia. Madam Kartika is married with two children.

Madam Kartika was sentenced by the Pahang Syariah Court to be lashed six times and fined RM 5000 as punishment for drinking beer with her husband in a hotel nightclub two years ago, in Cherating (Pahang state) on 12 July 2007. The mother of two was charged under Section 136 of the Pahang Islamic and Malay Traditional Practices Enactment (Amendment) 1987. The sentence was expected to be carried out on 4 August 2009.

However, the Syariah High Court has now sentenced Madam Kartika to an even harsher punishment by ordering her to be detained for 7 days. Judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Yunus also approved another two applications by the state Religious Department to allow the prison's director to carry out the whipping and release Madam Kartika after the punishment was served.

We are deeply concerned about the increased state-imposed violence exemplified by Madam Kartika’s case. As a member state of the United Nations, Malaysia has agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). By detaining and caning Madam Kartika, we believe Malaysia violates the following articles of the UDHR:

• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks (Article 12).

• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 5).

Furthermore, we maintain that being sentenced to detention and caning violates Madam Kartika’s right to physical and mental integrity. We find the punishment of Madam Kartika to be disproportionate to the crime committed, and strongly protest the use of violent punishment in this case. For these reasons, we urge for this case to be suspended and the proposed detention of Madam Kartika to be halted.

Yours Sincerely,

{your name / organization}

Addresses: 
Embassies

You can find the embassy of Malaysia in your country here: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Malaysia

UN Representatives

Ms. Rashida Manjoo
The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Ms. Asma Jahangir
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
c/o Office Of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: (+41 22) 917 90 06
E-mail: freedomofreligion@ohchr.org or to urgent-action@ohchr.org (please include in the subject box: Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief)

Mr. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on Torture
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Malaysia: URGENT appeal for intervention to stay sentence of caning

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned to learn that Madam Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has been sentenced by the Pahang Syariah Court to six strokes of the rotan (and fined RM 5000) as punishment for drinking beer in a hotel nightclub in 2007.
Source: 
WLUML networkers
Action needed: 
Please write to the Malaysian Embassy in your country appealing to them to intervene for a stay of the sentence, to protect Madame Kartika from being subjected to this wholly inhumane punishment, and to preclude this being seen as a precedent for the caning of Muslim women in Malaysia.
Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

You can find the embassy in your country here: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Malaysia

UPDATE: Sudan: Lubna Hussein's trial postponed until 7 September

The trial of Sudanese former journalist Lubna Hussein, who faces 40 lashes after being arrested a month ago for wearing trousers, has been postponed, again, until 7 September.
Source: 
FT/Al Jazeera
Action needed: 
Please join WLUML and its allies in applauding Lubna Ahmad Hussein’s courageous stance in defence of women’s human rights, and in demanding that article 152 be repealed because it is in violation of fundamental human rights as enshrined in international law, as well as being in breach of The Bill of Rights in the Sudanese Interim Constitution 2005.

Lubna Ahmad Hussein and 12 other women were arrested in Khartoum on July 3, 2009, when police forces stormed the restaurant and arrested women diners for wearing trousers. The women, some of whom come from Southern Sudan, were charged under article 152 (Indecent and Immoral Acts) of the 1991 Penal Code. Ten of the women pleaded guilty and have already received punishments of 10 lashes each (two of them under the age of 16), and charges were brought against three others, including Hussein. These actions of the ‘public order police’ (similar to the religious police in Saudi Arabia) systematically violate the human rights of Sudanese women.

Hussein brought the issue to the attention of the public, and distributed 500 invitations to journalists and friends to court proceedings on Wednesday 29 July, having explained in an interview with Al-Arabiyya TV, that she had given out the invitations because otherwise no one would believe that she was to be flogged for wearing ordinary clothes: "I wanted the punishment to be executed in the presence of observers, so that they see for themselves why I was being flogged."

As Lubna Ahmad Hussein works for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the judge said at the hearing on 29 July that she had the choice either to accept immunity from the UN or to waive that and go on with the trial. Hussein said that she will resign from UNMIS so she will be dealt with as a Sudanese citizen. Hussein has chosen to use her particular case to challenge the constitutionality of the law and to highlight the growing number of cases of floggings of girls and women in Sudan.

Over the past 20 years Sudanese women- regardless of their race, religion, age or background- have suffered degrading treatment and humiliation under the public order code of 1996, which changed in 2009 to The Society Safety Code. The discriminatory laws against women embedded in Sudanese legislation contradict the declared government commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on 9 January 2005, and to the National Interim Constitution. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – which Sudan acceded in 1986 – prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment such as flogging and protects women's rights to be free from discrimination based on sex.

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, signed by Sudan on 30 June 2008, pledged to reform existing discriminatory laws and practices in order to promote and protect the rights of women. Furthermore, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Sudan in 1979, clearly states that: ‘States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.’

Imposed dress-codes upon women, whether enforced by legal frameworks or non-state actors, are not only about clothing. Dress-codes speak to an underlying desire to control women’s bodies and autonomy, examples of which can be seen across regions and cultures. We urge your immediate attention to this extreme manifestation of controlling women’s bodies and autonomy through their clothing.

Addresses: 

The Sudanese Minister of Justice,
Mr. Abdul-Basit Sabdarat.
P.O. Box 302 - Zip Code: 11111
Nile St. Khartoum - Sudan
Tel: 00249912287609 (The mobile number of the admin of their website)
Fax: 00249183764168
moj@moj.gov.sd

Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
Rashida Manjoo
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
Manfred Nowak
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
bkainz@ohchr.org

Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Margaret Sekaggya
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Telephone: +41 22 917 1234.
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org. The text of the e-mail should refer to the human rights defenders mandate.

Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders in Africa
Reine Alapini-Gansou
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
achpr@achpr.org

UPDATE: Sudan: Lubna Hussein's case postponed to 4th August

As Lubna Ahmad Hussein works for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the judge today said that she has immunity so the case could be cancelled. Hussein refused, however, and said that she will resign from UNMIS so she will be dealt with as a Sudanese citizen. The decision was reached to postpone the case to another session on Tuesday 4th of August.
Source: 
WLUML networkers/ AFP
Action needed: 
The WLUML network calls for article 152 be repealed because it is in violation of fundamental human rights as enshrined in international law, as well as being in breach of The Bill of Rights in the Sudanese Interim Constitution 2005.

The journalist Lubna Ahmad Hussein has chosen to courageously use her particular case to challenge the constitutionality of the law and to highlight the growing number of cases of floggings of girls and women with no public profile or international standing. These women are guilty of nothing more that dressing as they think appropriate. Imposed dress-codes upon women, whether enforced by legal frameworks or non-state actors, are not only about clothing. Dress-codes speak to an underlying desire to control women’s bodies and autonomy, examples of which can be seen across regions and cultures. We urge your immediate attention to this extreme manifestation of controlling women’s bodies and autonomy through their clothing.

Please continue to put pressure on the Sudanese authorities to repeal this unconstitutional law by writing to the Sudanese Minister of Justice and to UN Special Rapporteurs:

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

The Sudanese Minister of Justice,
Mr. Abdul-Basit Sabdarat.
P.O. Box 302 - Zip Code: 11111
Nile St. Khartoum - Sudan
Tel: 00249912287609 (The mobile number of the admin of their website)
Fax: 00249183764168
moj@moj.gov.sd

Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
Rashida Manjoo
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
Manfred Nowak
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
bkainz@ohchr.org

Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Margaret Sekaggya
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Telephone: +41 22 917 1234.
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org. The text of the e-mail should refer to the human rights defenders mandate.

Sudan: Call to halt case brought against journalist Lubna Ahmad Hussein

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International solidarity network is gravely concerned to hear that tomorrow, Wednesday 29 July, at 10:00 am, Sudanese time, the court will hear the case brought against Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmad Hussein for ‘inappropriate dress and conduct’.
Source: 
WLUML networkers
Action needed: 
Please echo WLUML's demands by sending letters to the following bodies:
Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

The Sudanese Minister of Justice,
Mr. Abdul-Basit Sabdarat.
P.O. Box 302 - Zip Code: 11111
Nile St. Khartoum - Sudan
Tel: 00249912287609 (The mobile number of the admin of their website)
Fax: 00249183764168
moj@moj.gov.sd

The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
Manfred Nowak
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
bkainz@ohchr.org

Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org. The text of the e-mail should refer to the human rights defenders mandate.
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Telephone: +41 22 917 1234.

UPDATE: Iran: Human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr released from jail

Women Living Under Muslim Laws is very happy to announce that Shadi Sadr was released from Evin Prison on Tuesday, a little after 11 a.m. She returned home to her family earlier than the 6 p.m. time the court had said she would be released. Shadi’s family was planning to welcome her upon her arrival when they saw her standing at the door. Apparently, Shadi Sadr had arrived several hours earlier so that her friends and family would not have to gather outside the prison.
Source: 
Middle East News

Iran: Women human rights defender, Shadi Sadr, beaten and arrested

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the violent abduction and detention without charge of human rights lawyer, Ms. Shadi Sadr, by state agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Source: 
WLUML networkers
Action needed: 
We call upon the women's rights community and all human rights activists and organizations to speak out in defense of Shadi Sadr and all those who are being unjustly persecuted in Iran for their non-violent dissent. You can write in Persian, English, or your own language.

Please write to local and international media, mobilize your networks, and urge your policy makers and embassies as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay to take action to protect the basic human rights of all those who are being abused and arrested in Iran.

Your letter can:

* call on the authorities to release Shadi Sadr immediately and unconditionally, as she is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for her human rights activities and the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression;

* stress that Ms. Sadr's arrest was of a targeted and violent nature, and that no warrant, reason for arrest, or officer identification were provided at the time;

* urge them to disclose her whereabouts immediately, and ensure that she is allowed immediate access to her family, lawyer of her choice and any medical treatment she may require, especially as she has a reported pre-existing medical condition;

* urge the authorities to ensure that Shadi Sadr and all other detainees are protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment;

* call on the authorities to remove unlawful restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly in Iran.

Addresses: 
The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General
760 United Nations Plaza
United Nations
New York, NY 10017
Web contact: www.un.org/en/contactus/contactform.asp

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: infodesk@ohchr.org
Tel: +41-22-917-90-00
Fax: +41-22-917-9008 or +1-212-963-4097

Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org. The text of the e-mail should refer to the human rights defenders mandate.
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Telephone: +41 22 917 1234. This is the number for the United Nations telephone operator in Geneva, Switzerland . Callers should ask to speak with staff at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights dealing with the special procedures of the Human Rights, and specifically with staff supporting the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. Please see here for further details about filing complaints to the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/complaints.htm

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
c/o. Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211, Geneva 10
Switzerland
fax: +41-22-917-90-06
See model questionnaire here: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu6/2/fs26.htm#A5

The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English), http://www.leader.ir/langs/fa/index.php?p=letter (Persian)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: shahroudi@dadgostary-tehran.ir This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Iranian Bar Association
No. 3, Zagros St.,
Argentina Sq.,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 8771340
or +98 21 888 6425/ 26
Email: tamas@iranbar.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or mail@iranbar.org

And the Iranian embassy in your country (NB: recommend telephoning and faxing before letter-writing)

Saudi Arabia: Imprisonment and Whipping of 75 year-old Woman

WLUML, and its allies, demand that Saudi Arabia demonstrate its commitment to human rights and release Khamisa Sawadi, Fahd al-Anzi, and Hadiyan bin Zein and revoke the order of deportation.
Source: 
WLUML Networkers
Action needed: 
Please send this letter to the relevant authorities in Saudi Arabia:

Subject: Imprisonment and Whipping of 75 year-old Woman

[date]

[Your Excellency/ Dear Sir/ Your Highness]

,

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the conviction of Mrs. Khamisa Sawadi for ‘illegal mingling’, and her sentencing to forty lashes and four months in prison. The verdict raises questions not just related to the safety and security of Mrs. Sawadi, but also the broader situation of human/women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

On March 3, 2009 Mrs. Sawadi, a 75 year old woman living in Hail, northern Saudi Arabia, was accused, and found guilty, of mingling with two young men to whom she was not immediately related. In April 2008 Sawadi met the two 24-year-old men after she asked them to bring her five loaves of bread. Since her husband’s death and the marriage of her two daughters, who subsequently relocated to Riyadh, Sawadi had commonly asked her friends and neighbours for help. The two men, Al-Anzi, Sawadi’s late husband’s nephew, and bin Zein, al-Anzi’s business partner, were also arrested by religious police and found guilty and sentenced to prison terms and lashes.

The court based its decision on ‘citizen information’ and testimony from al-Anzi’s father, who accused Sawadi of corruption. Furthermore, the verdict cited the fact that Sawadi is not a Saudi national – although she was married to a Saudi man – and that she was without a husband as evidence of her guilt. Following the implementation of her sentence, Sawadi will face deportation.

As Saudi Arabia has committed itself to upholding human rights, evidenced by its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006, ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 2000, and claims to be dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, we ask that the Saudi authority fulfil its obligation and correct this breach of international law. In its own letter to the UN Secretary General in 2006 Saudi Arabia claimed to have “a confirmed commitment with the defence, protection and promotion of human rights. This commitment has been manifested in its performance as a member of the Commission on Human Rights. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia pursues the policy of active cooperation with international organizations in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Even under the strict Sharia laws of Saudi Arabia, Khamisa did not commit any violation. A woman who has passed menopause is exempt from mingling and veiling restrictions by the words of Quran as a woman of ‘qawa’id’.

We demand that Saudi Arabia demonstrate its commitment to human rights and release Khamisa Sawadi, Fahd al-Anzi, and Hadiyan bin Zein and revoke the order of deportation.

Yours Sincerely,

[your name/organisation]

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966 1 488 2222
Fax: +966 1 491 2726

Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah El Aiban
President
The Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889 Riyadh 11515
King Fahed Street
Building 373, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 14 612 061
Email: shakwa@haq-ksa.org

His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Elkarim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 401 1741

HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf
Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
30 Charles Street
London
W1J 5DZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7917 3000
ukemb@mofa.gov.sa

HRH Prince Saud bin Abdelmuhsin Al Saud
Governor of Hail Region
Fax: +966 6 5336668
Phone: +966 6 5331813
hail@hail.gov.sa

Bandar al-Hajjar
Chairman
National Society for Human Rights
+966 – 1 – 2102223 – phone
info@nshr.org.sa

Please continue to check for address updates...

UPDATE: Madagascar: New president suspends parliament

The violence on the streets has ended. But two days after the army swept the 34-year-old to power, Madagascar's newly-installed president Andry Rajoelina suspended the Indian Ocean island's parliament.
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