Saudi Arabia: FREE WALEED

Payá in Havana in 2005. (Claudia Daut/Reuters)
Waleed Abulkhair, a Saudi Arabian human rights lawyer, was imprisoned for signing a petition calling for democracy, and for criticizing the Saudi Arabian government on news outlets and on Twitter. Now you have the chance to take action on Waleed’s behalf.

Freedom of Expression in Saudi Arabia

Freedom of expression is the right to share your thoughts and opinions, as well as the right to receive information from any source you choose. This means that you can criticize anyone, whether that’s the president, a neighbor, or anyone you disagree with. You can watch any TV show, read any books and newspapers, and access any websites you want.

However, while most governments have the power to limit freedom of expression, non-democracies often abuse this power. One way they do so is by imprisoning people who speak out against the government; another way to limit freedom of expression is by controlling the media. They do this by blocking websites, shutting down news outlets and social media sites, and harassing journalists and activists.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by a king who can create whatever laws he wants at any time. The royal family has complete control over most media outlets, and Saudi citizens are often imprisoned for criticizing the king, religion, or politics. HRF’s Free Speech Unlimited project lists Saudi Arabia among the worst offenders when it comes to prohibiting free speech.

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