UBE – Poet sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia

Manifesto written by the President of UBE, Durval de Noronha Goyos Jr. to the Minister of Justice Dr. Walid bin Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Samaani referring to Palestinian Poet Ashraf Fayadh.

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His Excellency Dr. Walid bin Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Samaani
Ministry of Justice,
University Street
Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
RE: Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh

Your Excellency,

The Brazilian Union of Writers – UBE, through its president, herein manifests a profound dismay at the sentencing to death of the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh for apostasy, in the month of November 2015.
The UBE believes that no individual should be put to death for apostasy, simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief, so that all charges against the poet Fayadh should be completely anulled.

The court’s decision represents a disturbing violation of internationally recognized human rights, such as those provided for in Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, rights which includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and share information and ideas through any media.

It is worth remembering that the United Nations Charter, in its third paragraph of the first article and Part C of Article 55 provides that all Member States of the United Nations should strive to respect human rights and guarantee fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination of race, sex, language, or religion. Thus, Saudi Arabia, as a member of the Human Rights Council (HRC), should undertake to defend, promote and respect the highest standards of human rights.
Furthermore, Article II of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone, without distinction, is entitled to all the rights and freedoms proclaimed in this statement. Rights that currently are indiscriminately denied to the poet Fayadh, in a demonstration of intolerance to free expression and free-thinking by Saudi Justice.

It also causes great concern the current allegations of lack of due process in the trial of the poet Fayadh, to whom legal representation has been denied as well as the access to a lawyer of his choice, so that he could appeal the latest decision that sentenced him to death, indeed, an unacceptable fact that attests a serious flaw in the Kingdom’s justice system.
Therefore, the Brazilian Union of writers, firm in the belief that there is no crime in the peaceful expression of an opinion, call on the Saudi authorities to immediately release Ashraf Fayadh and other detained for the same reason in Saudi Arabia, and to refrain from punishing individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience, as essential human rights.


President of the Brazilian Union of Writers