Calling for the release of the Saudi Laureates of the 2018 Right Livelihood Award
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation joins Amnesty International (Sweden) to appeal on Saudi Arabia to release three jailed human rights defenders Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair, who share this year’s Right Livelihood Award.
We call upon Saudi Arabia to not only release the three Laureates, who had acted through peaceful means, but also to stop harassing and killing human rights defenders and activists.
Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Foundation, said: “Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani, and Waleed Abu al-Khair are three of the most prominent Saudi civil and human rights defenders. Through peaceful methods, they have called for the separation of powers and equality for all, including the abolishment of male guardianship which deprives women of their most basic rights. We demand their immediate release and that the Saudi regime stops harassing and killing those who are fighting for a more democratic society.”
As a consequence of their courageous struggle for a more pluralistic and democratic society, the three men have been imprisoned and are all currently in jail. In 2013, al-Hamid and al-Qahtani were sentenced to 11 and 10 years’ imprisonment on charges including “inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations” and “forming an unlicensed organisation”. Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 2014 for charges including “disobeying the ruler” and “harming the reputation of the state by communicating with international organisations”.
Al-Hamid, al-Qahtani and Abu al-Khair received the 2018 Right Livelihood Award “for their visionary and courageous efforts, guided by universal human rights principles, to reform the totalitarian political system in Saudi Arabia.”
The Right Livelihood Award Presentation will be held in Stockholm on Friday, 23 November, followed by a week-long celebration programme in Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. The imprisoned Saudi Laureates will be represented by family members of al-Qahtani and the Saudi human rights advocate Yahya Assiri.