US Lawyers ’Paying Attention’ as Female Saudi Activist Due in Court

Local Editor

Female human rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham could become the first woman ever sentenced to death for nonviolent protest in Saudi Arabia on Sunday in a case human rights lawyers say “may well constitute multiple violations of international human rights law.”

Al-Ghomgham is one of six Saudi human rights defenders standing trial at the country’s infamous Specialized Criminal Court, five of whom are facing possible death sentences. The court has a history of unfair trials resulting in executions.

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on dissent is attracting fresh attention following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi late last year.

Israa al-Ghomgham’s case 

Al-Ghomgham has been in detention since 2015, when she was arrested for activism related to fighting discrimination against Saudi Arabia’s Shiite Muslim minority.

She is charged with things including chanting “we shall not be humiliated,” and “we demand penalties for those who fired bullets,” according to a brief on the case written by international human rights lawyer Oliver Windridge, which was circulated by the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court was created to hear terrorism cases, but Windridge says “its focus appears to have moved from terrorist suspects to human rights defenders and anti-government protesters.”

Violations of international human rights law?

In his brief, Windridge lays out three ways in which the prosecution’s indictment against al-Ghomgham may violate international law:

First, he points out that the prosecution is relying on confessions from all six of the accused. Saudi Arabia has a history of relying on confessions made after torture. Torture is banned under international law, and any allegations of it are required to be investigated.

Second, Windridge points out the non-serious nature of the crimes the accused are charged with, for which the prosecution is seeking the death sentence in five cases. Windridge says the non-violent crimes fall “well short” of the standard required to make the death penalty acceptable under international law.

Third, Windridge points out that many of the slogans the accused are charged with chanting, such as “we demand the annulment of capital punishment sentences,” are benign and would, “even if proved to be true… fall well within permitted forms of expression under international human rights law”.

International attention

In an email, the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights said it hoped, “to make it known that the international community is closely monitoring this situation and is paying attention to the outcome of (al-Ghomgham’s) case.”

“In my view, the specialized criminal court continues, in all these cases, to violate international human rights law,” Windridge told CBS News.

The six activists, including al-Ghomgham, are due to appear in court on Sunday, January 13.

Source: CBS News, Edited by website team


A Call for Action

December 21, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Islington Council has been forced to make 225,000,000  pounds in cuts over the past 8 years and expects to have to cut 50,000,000 more over the next three years. This did not stop the Council from hiring two leading partners (Gideon Benaim and Tom Iverson) from one of Britain’s most expensive law firms (Simkins) plus the costs of counsel to handle the ‘difficult’ matter of bolstering the Council’s ridiculous decision to stop me from playing the saxophone at the Blockheads’ Christmas  concert.

I urge my supporters and every Brit who would like the Council’s funds to be spent on more worthy causes to submit a Freedom of Information request and demand full disclosure of the Council’s legal expenses related to its fear of my saxophone.   We may be able find out how many homeless and disabled Islington residents would have been able to enjoy a warm meal and a roof this Christmas if the Council had stayed out of philosophy and did its job instead. Did anyone suppose that the Council’s best use of public funds was to operate as a Stasi like Israeli mission force.

Here’s the link to Islington’s Freedom of Information request instructions:

To express your disgust with Islington Council and its leader click here:

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint:


Contact the Council: +4420 7527 2000

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