From the architecture of government, power should be built around people. Freedom of opinion is one vital political nutrient a government needs to be fed with in order to grow. The voice of the people must be loud enough to reach the corridors of power, reverberating through the corridors to the offices of power. It is true that it is the plurality of opinion that makes a government more engaging. Therefore, opinions shouldn’t be “grounded”, they shouldn’t be locked indoors inside us, but must be constructively vented.
With this line of reasoning, it becomes a stench on our civilization when a disabled man gets sentenced to death for “attending a protest” in Saudi Arabia.
Munir al-Adam, 23, was brutally punished for expressing his political perspective and beaten to the malicious extent that he lost hearing in one ear. These protests trace as far back as 2012. Munir was consequently sentenced to death last year in a secretive trial in a specialized criminal court in Saudi Arabia. Human rights campaigners have slammed the decision, calling it “shocking” and demanding that the White House intervenes. The global outcry, which broke out last year after the sentence, popped up again into the global limelight recently when an appellate court upheld the sentence. This has rightly drawn in the ire of the international human rights community who labeled the political melodrama as “shocking”, demanding that the U.S. extend a diplomatic olive branch to Munir by intervening in the case.
According to Maya Foa, the director of Reprieve, a legal justice charity based in the UK:
“Munir’s case is utterly shocking – the White House should be appalled that our Saudi allies tortured a disabled protester until he lost his hearing then sentenced him to death on the basis of a forced ‘confession.’ Today’s judgment shows that, by failing to raise human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, President Trump has emboldened the Kingdom to continue the torture and execution of protesters. The Trump Administration must now urgently stand up for American values – they must call for the release of Munir, and all others who face execution for simply exercising freedom of expression.”
– Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve
Reports detailing the horror revealed that Munir, who is just 23 years of age, and already suffers impaired vision owing to a fractured skull he sustained in an accident in his early childhood, was heavily tortured by police even in knowledge of the medical records of Amir’s disabilities. With some mischievously concocted distortion of justice, Amir was forced into signing a false confession.
A spokesman from Reprieve explained that Amir was charged with violent acts at a protest. Activists firmly hold out that Amir’s trial was rigged, with no evidence produced during his trial. This lends certainty to the probability of the signed confession being coerced out of Amir.
Saudi Arabian authorities have pelted allegations at Mr Amir of “sending texts”, yet the financial records of Amir (a manual worker) show that a mobile phone was a luxury buy for Amir.
Ms Foa further said: “Today’s judgment shows that, by failing to raise human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, President Trump has emboldened the Kingdom to continue the torture and execution of protesters. The Trump administration must now urgently stand up for American values. They must call for the release of Munir, and all others who face execution for simply exercising freedom of expression.”
This kind of development coming from Saudi Arabia is vehemently embarrassing given that they treated President Trump to a colorful and cultural ceremony during Trump’s tour.
Trump had courted controversy when he declined to shine a light on the human rights violations perpetrated by the Saudi Arabian government with continuous impunity. Saudi Arabia is, after all, infamous for its human rights violations, as well as being one of the biggest exercisers of capital punishment in the world (sometimes as grotesque as beheading the “guilty” and the cucifying the headless body as a warning to others). The U.S. operates a carrot and stick diplomacy with Saudi Arabia. Previous US administrations have boldly given Saudi Arabia the stick as opposed to the sumptuous carrots Mr Trump’s is stuffing the nation with now.
As much as every nation is sovereign, justice is universal. The world shouldn’t stand aloof and watch justice swept under totalitarian carpets. Amir deserves justice and humane treatment. If you want to help Amir, you can contact Reprieve via telephone (+44 (0)20 7553 8140) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).