» 06/08/2004, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA ITALY USA
Free detained Christian and reformist Muslims
Rome(AsiaNews/FH) A campaign for the liberation of Brian Savio O'Connor has recently begun. O'Connor, who was arrested 6 months ago by the Saudi religious police (Muttawa), is now being held in the Olaya prison in Riyadh. The Muttawa have accused O'Connor of drug and alcohol peddling and of preaching Christianity. The prisoner's family declared that the drug charges are mere fabrications.
An Italian web-site, Stranocristiano, has appealed to the Saudi authorities for the liberation of O'Connor. This e-campaign is grounded on the letter that the Indian activist John Dayal recently wrote to king Fahad. "We join John Dayal in requesting the liberation of Brian O'Connor. Religious freedom is a universal right. A country that does not grant such right is not a civilised country".
Christians are not the only ones to be persecuted in Saudi Arabia. The Washington-based Saudi Institute gave the news of the arrest on March 15 of 11 Saudi citizens. All of them are Muslims who were active as voices for tolerance and human rights. Among the prisoners there are Abdulla Al-Hamad, a professor at Imam Mohamed bin Al-Saud University, Mohammed Said Al-Taib, a human rights activist, and Najeeb Al-Khanizee, a writer and political activist. Another human rights activist, Abdul-Rahman Alahim, was arrested on March 17 after appearing the day before on Al-Jazeera satellite television, calling upon the government to release all political detainees. Some of the prisoners were released three days ago, but seven others remain in the General Intelligence prison in Riyadh.
According to information received from the Saudi Institute, these activists were reportedly arrested for criticizing the lack of independence of the Saudi National Commission on Human Rights. They have also been accused of actively participating over the last two years in peaceful activities calling upon the government to take steps towards political reform, democracy, and respect for human rights. The Saudi Interior Ministry has agreed to release the detainees only on the condition that they sign a pledge to cease their campaign to reform the political and human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
09/06/2004 SAUDI ARABIA Italy
Solidarity for poor O'Connor, the Christian tortured by the Saudi police
Interview to M.P. Mario Scajola, president of the Italian division of the World Muslim League (Rome)
24/09/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
New false accusations brought in court against O'Connor, an Indian-born Christian
Details about the arrest point to a plot by Islamic police against the Christian man who has been in jail for the last six months on charges of "evangelisation".
25/11/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
Christians arrested and persecuted in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh prisons are full of Christians but also Shiites and 'heretical' Sufi practitioners.
25/11/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
The 'Save O'Connor' campaign, an example of Internet solidarity
07/11/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
With demonstrations banned Saudi activists launch online home-based hunger strike
The group calls for a reform of the legal system, changes to the constitution and the release of 11 reformers held in prison without trial. Students and intellectuals join the protest campaign via Facebook.
Defeated on ice, but 'first' in history, joint Korean hockey team players hug
After losing to Sweden in their last match, the Korean team ends up in seventh place. Players burst into tears at their imminent separation. "Politicians made that executive decision [to have a joint team]. Our players and staff are the ones that made it work,” said the team’s proud Canadian coach. One South Korean athlete hopes the country is proud of them. "It was bigger than hockey."
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