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Motion for a resolution - B8-0149/2015Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Saudi Arabia, the case of Mr Raif Badawi

10.2.2015 - (2015/2550(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Ignazio Corrao, Rosa D'Amato, Tiziana Beghin, Laura Agea, Marco Valli, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Dario Tamburrano, Piernicola Pedicini on behalf of the EFDD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0143/2015

Procedure : 2015/2550(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on Saudi Arabia, the case of Mr Raif Badawi


The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolution of 11 March 2014 on Saudi Arabia


– having regard to the statements made by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the carrying out of public lashing of Saudi activist Mr. Raef Badawi of the 9 of January 2015,


– having regard to the statement of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to halt the punishment of Raef Badawi;


– having regard to the decision of the Arab League’s Ministerial Council, meeting in Cairo on 1 September 2013, to set up a pan-Arab court of human rights in Bahrain’s capital, Manama,


– having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy of 25 June 2012,


– having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 on a digital freedom strategy in EU foreign policy,


– having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2013 on the freedom of the press and media in the world,


– having regard to the 2004 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, as updated in 2008,


– having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to all of which Saudi Arabia is a party;


– having regard to the Convention against Torture, which Saudi Arabia has ratified;


– having regard to the article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,


– having regard to the 1949 Geneva Convention,


– having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A.  Whereas human rights violations in Saudi Arabia remain of great concern; whereas many recent actions by the Saudi authorities continue to violate and restrict the rights and freedoms of segments of the population, in particular the right of individuals to peaceful protest, freedom of expression and digital freedom; whereas human rights activists face ongoing systematic targeting, harassment and detention;


B.  Whereas Raif Badawi was condemned to the jail for 10 years in May 2014 after starting a website for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia and he was charged with creating the ‘Saudi Arabian Liberals’ website and insulting Islam;


C.  Whereas his sentence also included 1,000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban, and a ban on appearing on media outlets; whereas on Friday 9 January, Raif Badawi received 50 lashes, while the rest of the full sentence of 1,000 lashes will be carried out, apparently every week on Fridays, for a period of 19 weeks;


D.  Whereas the charges related to articles Raif Badawi wrote criticising religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, as well as pieces written by others which were published on his website; whereas the prosecution had called for him to be tried for apostasy, which carries the death sentence;


E.  Whereas Raif Badawi is one of many activists in Saudi Arabia persecuted for expressing their views online; whereas social media are increasing their popularity and the authorities have responded to this increase in online debate by monitoring social media sites and even trying to ban applications of online communication; whereas online social media has increasingly come under government scrutiny for dealing with the "forbidden" topics;


F.  Whereas Saudi Arabia has also condemned the lawyer of the blogger, Waleed Abu al-Khair, to 15 years in prison plus a ban on leaving the country for 15 years, charging him of insulting the judiciary, inciting hatred the public opinion and questioning the regime and its officials; whereas in October, three other lawyers were sentenced from five to eight years in prison for criticizing the Minister of Justice;


G.  Whereas over 80 people were executed in 2014 in Saudi Arabia, mostly by beheading; whereas the physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts — as beheading, stoning, amputation and lashing — and the number and pace of executions are a matter of serious concern; whereas in 2012, 79 people were executed and 47 so far in 2013; whereas there were 423 reported executions between 2007 and 2012;


H.  Whereas the speeches, the press and other forms of communicative media, including television and radio broadcasting and Internet activities, are actively censored by the government to prevent political dissent and anything deemed, by the government, to be offensive to the Wahhabi culture or Islamic morality;


I.  Whereas public demonstrations or any public act of dissent are forbidden;


J.  Whereas recent estimates of the number of political prisoners in Mabahith prisons range from an estimate of zero by the Saudi Ministry of Interior to 30,000 by the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission;


1.  Calls on Saudi Arabia government to release Raif Badawi immediately and unconditionally, as he is being held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly and to refrain from carrying out the flogging punishment; in the meantime, it must also ensure that Raif Badawi is protected from torture and other ill-treatment; requires that he should be given any medical attention he may require, as well as immediate and regular access to his family and the lawyers of his choice;


2.  Calls for the quashing of Raif Badawi’s conviction and prison sentence and for the dropping all charges against him;


3.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to suspend any further corporal punishment for Mr Badawi and to consider putting an end to the use of lashing, a punishment that is not in conformity with the relevant international conventions on human rights;


4.  Condemns all forms of corporal punishment, torture and reaffirms its absolute opposition to the death penalty;


5.  Condemns all human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and urges the Saudi government to put an end to all human rights abuses and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression, both online and offline, and the freedom of assembly, in line with Saudi Arabia’s international human rights obligations;


6.  Strongly condemns any form of censorship to the freedom of expression and recalls that the freedom of expression is a fundamental right of human dignity;


7.  Requests the definitive stop of accusing activists with charges such as ‘apostasy’, punishable by death and urges the Saudi authorities to abolish the Specialized Criminal Court, set up in 2008 to try terrorism cases but increasingly used to prosecute peaceful dissidents on apparently politically motivated charges and in proceedings that violate the fundamental right to a fair trial;


8.  Encourage Saudi Arabia to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which entered into force in 1976. Article 6 of this covenant states 'every human being has the inherent right of life';


9.  Underlines that all human right abuses and persistence of such situations may threats bilateral EU-Saudi Arabia cooperation or agreement;


10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the Centre for National Dialogue of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.M. King Salmān bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Āl Saʿūd and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.