Background and Sources for Charges in Letter to the University of New Haven


(Not part of the letter itself):

---- UNH is "excited" to put its skills "at the service of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's next generation of security professionals." The college has already started the program with the KSA security college. See also the initial UNH announcement June 2016.

----On July 12, 2017 the the Sunday Times (UK) wrote about the complicity of the British College of Policing in the arrests and prosecution of Saudi dissidents. The story highlighted the death penalty sentence given to Abdulkareem al-Hawaj whose crime was "spreading information" via a What's App social media when he was 16 years old. Surely the University of New Haven does not want to collaborate in similar offenses against youths.

----The the Independent (UK) in a March 2017 report about two transgendered Saudis beaten to death by Saudi Police noted "Homosexuality is punishable by death while any sex-change surgery is illegal."

---- Raif Badawi has been in prison for five years after receiving a sentence of ten years and ----1,000 lashes for creating an online forum "Liberal Saudi Network" where he wrote about secularism, democracy and human rights. He received 50 lashes, but the rest were suspended after worldwide protest. He was awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

----Executions in the kingdom are most usually by beheading though stoning is also a possibility. "Crimes" subject to the death penalty include drug possession, witchcraft, rape, robbery, adultery, sex between members of the same sex, and apostasy.

----Just after President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia "a court in Saudi Arabia upheld a death sentence for a disabled man who was arrested after he attended a protest, campaigners have said."

---- The British human rights organization Reprieve writes, "Ali al-Nimr was just 17 years old when he was sentenced to death by crucifixion in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprising. He was accused of participation in an illegal demonstration and a large number of other offences. These include 'explaining how to give first aid to protestors' and using his blackberry to invite others to join him at the protest." He was sentenced to "death by crucifixion". In 2013 Amnesty International reported the crucifixion penalty meted out to five men that year.

---- A report from Australia stated,"The Saudi embassy is also revealed to pay close attention to the political and religious beliefs of Saudi university students studying in Australia with reports sent to the Mabahith, the General Investigation Directorate of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the Kingdom's brutal secret police that deals with domestic security and counter-intelligence. "

---- Amnesty International reports that "Saudi Arabia's Shi'a Muslim minority continued to face entrenched discrimination that severely limited their access to government services and state employment and their freedom of religious expression. The authorities continued to arrest, detain and sentence Shi'a activists to prison terms or death after unfair trials."

Under the Saudi guardianship system women are treated from birth to death as permanent legal minors. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

---- King Fahd Security College is involved with the KSA program to stamp out drug use Saudi Arabia imposes the death penalty for a range of drug offenses. "Security forces have a national responsibility in combating the dangerous drug scourge and creating a safe environment for Saudi youth, said Maj. Gen. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Khiliwi, director general of King Fahad Security College."

---- In addition to the 10,000 direct civilian deaths in the Yemen war, the indirect effects of the war are estimated to have led to thousands of excess child deaths, 10,000 of them in 2015 alone. (See New York Times article analyzing a 2016 UNICEF report.)

---- "1 Million Malnourished Children At Risk of Cholera In Yemen" - NPR report The numbers of adults and children suffering already are in the hundreds of thousands. Oxfam expects 600,000 cases of cholera by Sept. 2017

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