Hamza Kashgari is a 23 year old poet, journalist, and political prisoner in Saudi Arabia. Kashgari publicly supported the Arab Spring as a member of an organized group of activists, and as a result is apparently on “a Saudi watchlist of young pro-democracy activists who had voiced support for the Arab Spring uprisings,” according to Malaysian NGO Lawyers for Liberty.
As a journalist, Kashgari publicly criticised the authorities’ response to a January 2011 flood in Jeddah which resulted in the deaths of 11 people due to poor infrastructure. He has also publicly raised questions about the religious police, and published an article in the newspaper al-Bilad about political prisoners, one of the major motivating issues in the 2011–2012 Saudi Arabian protests.
Kashgari has described the status of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia by stating that Saudi women “won’t go to hell ‘because it’s impossible to go there twice.'”
In an interview given around the time of his arrest and illegal deportation to Saudi Arabia by Malaysia, Kashgari said, “I view my actions as part of a process toward freedom. I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights—freedom of expression and thought.”
“I believe I’m just a scapegoat for a larger conflict. There are a lot of people like me in Saudi Arabia who are fighting for their rights.”
The following statement was prepared by Mission Free Iran’s Ahmad Fatemi, to be read at the 25 February 2012 protest against the imprisonment of Hamza Kashgari and against any threat to his life or well-being. Hamza Kashgari and all political prisoners in Saudi Arabia must be immediately and unconditionally released.
The savages of the king of Arabia, the swordsmen of barbarity, never fail to surprise humanity. Yet we are here today to decry another LOW of backwardness and atrocity by the Saudi regime.
They have now arrested – and are debating decapitation for – a young kid named Hamza Kashgari because he wrote something about Islam and its Mohammad and posted it on Twitter.
People, Saudis and non-Saudis across the world are asking WHY?
WE say the question is not what he wrote, and if what he wrote was appropriate or not. This “question” is not THE question. This “question” can never be a legitimate question anywhere in our world, whether you sign the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights or not. This “question” has not been a legitimate question since the Middle Ages; at least not in the eyes of modern human beings and modern human society of the past several centuries.
The legitimate question here is WHY should there be such a punishment for a “crime” which otherwise, in a civilized, modern and dynamic society is a behaviour that is expected and encouraged?
But we are talking about Saudi Arabia. This is not the land of truth and progress and dynamism. This the land in which the ruler, under the razor sharpness of the sword’s blade, keeps the society in limbo.
Here they have stopped the clocks from ticking.
Here the headmen, and not the women and men of fine arts, poetry, humane compassion and passion for truth and progress, are adulated. Yes – here the swordsmen are the “social celebrities.” Here, the assassins of sharia law are the prominent guests of the talk shows and family programs.
So they want to punish Hamza. They want to punish him because this is the land of a king who humiliates humanity by calling universal human rights “absurd.”
We say that this is the land of “absurd” sharia law; this is the land of sexual apartheid’s “absurdity.” This is the land in which they lash the rape victim. This is the land of punishing lovers and the love for human freedom. THIS is the land of savage, barbarian rulers and their army of Mufties and Sheikhs and princes and executioners and hangmen and flagellants.
Yet at the same time, this is also the land of Saudi women and men striving for freedom. This is a land no different than Egypt, Tunisia, the oppressed Bahrain and the bleeding Syria. This is a land no different than our tortured, raped, imprisoned Iran, also fighting for freedom from the rule of the barbarians and savages of an Islamic regime.
Why are they punishing Hamza? Because what became of Mubarak and Bin-Ali, what will soon enough become of Assad and Khamenei, will become of the Kingdom of Hell, the ruling savages of Saudi Arabia, and their barbaric sharia law too.
The time has come for us, the oppressed lovers of humanity, equality and freedom of the region, and of the world, to break the swords of tyranny, to burn the gallows, whips and lashes of backwardness.
The time has come for us, together, to rid ourselves from the inhumanity of these barbaric dictatorships of men of god… and together build our own heaven on earth for humanity.
We are here today for our Bahrain, our Syria, our Egypt …and our Iran, free from tyranny, free from enmity, sympathetic, humane, free and equal within, as well as outside, our “national borders.”
We stand together today and we are not going away. We have come today to begin building a better, humane tomorrow, our tomorrow.
We are here today to say loud and clear:
FREE HAMZA KASHGARI!
Free Hamza, Khaled al-Johani, and all political prisoners in Saudi Arabia!
Not one more execution in Saudi Arabia!
Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of humanity in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and worldwide!
Human rights are our rights. They belong to us, and violations of our rights are crimes against humanity.