Saudi crown prince must not be given a pass on press freedom during UK visit

first_img Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on UK Prime Minister Theresa May and other senior officials to raise press freedom concerns and call for the release of jailed journalists in their meetings with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit this week to London. December 11, 2016 Find out more Receive email alerts March 7, 2018 Saudi crown prince must not be given a pass on press freedom during UK visit February 9, 2018 Find out more RSF_en to go further News News June 15, 2017 Find out more At least 15 journalists held arbitrarily in Saudi crackdown News Prince Mohammed is set to visit the UK from 7 to 9 March to sign a series of bilateral agreements, reportedly worth more than $100 billion, and is expected to join the Queen for dinner at Windsor Castle. But whilst Prince Mohammed is receiving the royal treatment in the UK, the situation is bleak for his critics at home in Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the world’s worst records on press freedom.At least four journalists and seven citizen journalists are currently serving prison sentences in Saudi Arabia, and at least 15 others have been arbitrarily held in a wave of arrests that started in September 2017. Harassment of journalists has been on the rise since last June, and in November, a new terrorism law was adopted that could easily be used to prosecute journalists and activists. In December, the Saudi media were urged to display more “patriotism”.Blogger Raif Badawi is among those behind bars in Saudi Arabia. Winner of the 2014 RSF Press Freedom Prize, Badawi has been jailed since June 2012 and was brutally flogged in January 2015 as part of his sentence to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes on charges of insulting Islam. Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair is also imprisoned, serving a 15-year sentence on a range of charges related to his work defending freedom of expression. Turad Al Amri, a famous journalist and commentator, is believed to have been detained since November 2016, although the authorities have never confirmed this. Journalist Saleh Al-Shehi was sentenced just last month to five years in prison on charges of insulting the royal court.“Prince Mohammed must not be given a pass on press freedom issues in his meetings here in London. Continued silence on this free expression clampdown sends the wrong signal about the UK’s priorities in its relations with Saudi Arabia. Theresa May should ensure this visit does not become another missed opportunity to call for the release of Raif Badawi and the other journalists and citizen journalists unjustly jailed in Saudi Arabia”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.Saudi Arabia is ranked 168th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. United KingdomSaudi ArabiaEurope – Central AsiaMiddle East – North Africa ImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists Help by sharing this information Organisation Raif Badawi – five years too many in Saudi prisons United KingdomSaudi ArabiaEurope – Central AsiaMiddle East – North Africa ImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists RSF urges Boris Johnson to raise case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi during Saudi Arabia visit Follow the news on Europe – Central Asia Newslast_img

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