Elena Valenciano, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, reiterates European Parliament's demand for the immediate release of the Saudi Arabian human rights defender:
As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, I wish to express my grave concern regarding the shocking news that Saudi Arabian authorities may have moved Raif Badawi, the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize laureate 2015, to an isolated cell in the Dhahran prison. It is especially worrying as, according to close relatives, he has just started a hunger strike while abstaining also from drinking water, which may have critical consequences.
I wish to remind the Saudi Arabian Government of the legal assessment of the UN Special Rapporteur, stating that indefinite solitary confinement can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. I urge the EU Institutions and Member States to express to the Saudi authorities their unequivocal condemnation for subjecting Raif Badawi to this kind of treatment, especially when it is well known that his health situation has been deteriorating.
I call on the Saudi Arabian Government to respect fundamental human dignity, and once again to honour its own promises and legal obligations as a state party to the United Nations Convention against Torture.
Moreover, as Raif Badawi remains unjustly detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression, I recall the appeal of the EP to the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, and have his case appropriately revised by the judiciary.