RSF urges Boris Johnson to raise case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi during Saudi Arabia visit

first_img The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MPSecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth AffairsForeign and Commonwealth OfficeKing Charles StreetLondonSW1A 2AH11 December 2016,Dear Foreign Secretary,I am writing on behalf of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) regarding your visit to Saudi Arabia. We have serious concerns about the press freedom situation in the country, in particular the case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. We ask that you take the opportunity to raise Badawi’s case, the cases of other jailed journalists and citizen journalists, and the broader dire press freedom climate in the country, at the highest possible levels during your visit.Saudi Arabia is currently ranked of 165th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, and has consistently ranked among the world’s worst regimes for press freedom since the Index was established in 2002. The King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, has been on RSF’s list of ‘predators of press freedom’ since he succeeded his brother Abdullah as king in 2015. Salman has embodied the heritage of a dynasty that has always been hostile to media freedom.At least 10 journalists and citizen journalists are currently jailed in Saudi Arabia. Harming the king’s image and reputation, blasphemy, insulting religion, and “inciting chaos” are all punished severely, often under the 2007 cyber crime law or the 2014 anti-terrorism law. The Internet is the only space where independent news and information can be circulated, but citizen journalists undertake serious risks when posting online. Like professional journalists, they are watched closely, and critical comments are liable to lead to arrest and unfair trials, ending in long jail sentences and sometimes accompanied by flogging.Blogger Raif Badawi is one such case. Badawi is the co-founder of the Liberal Saudi Network, an online discussion forum, and winner of the 2014 RSF Press Freedom Prize in the citizen journalist category. The 33 year-old blogger has been jailed since 17 June 2012. The Saudi authorities say Badawi’s posts mocked the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and questioned religion’s influence in Saudi society, thereby endangering public order. The site has been blocked since Badawi’s arrest.In May 2014, Badawi was convicted of insulting Islam and sentenced to 10 years in prison, as well as 1,000 lashes and a 10-year ban on travelling abroad after the completion of his prison sentence, which was upheld by the supreme court in June 2015. Badawi’s flogging was widely condemned internationally, including by the UK Foreign Office, which has stated: “We are seriously concerned by Raif Badawi’s case. The UK condemns the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment in all circumstances”. Badawi was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament in 2015.Badawi’s lawyer, human rights defender Waleed Abu Al Khair, has been jailed since 15 April 2014. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on 6 July 2014 on charges of “preparing, storing and circulating content that undermines public order”, “inciting rebellion”, “publishing false information with the aim of harming the state”, contempt of court, and creating an NGO without state permission. A critic of prison conditions, Al Khair himself has now been subjected to mistreatment in detention, including physical violence and sleep deprivation.Besides Badawi and Al Khair, at least eight other journalists and citizen journalists are currently jailed in Saudi Arabia. They include Zuhair Kutbi, a contributor to Makkah Online, held since 15 July 2015; Fawzan Al-Harbi a citizen journalist held since 25 June 2014; Jassim Mekki A’al Safar, a photographer held since 18 June 2014; Alaa Brinji, a reporter for the Al-Sharq website, held since 13 May 2014; Fadhel Al-Manafes, a citizen journalist held since 17 April 2014; Wajdi Al-Ghazzawi, a presenter of Al-Fajr TV, held since 4 February 2014; Ali Jaseb Al-Touhifah a citizen journalist, held since 1 August 2012; and Jalal Mohamed Al-Jamal a blogger for the website Al-Awamia, held since 25 February 2012 .We urge you to take the opportunity to raise these cases and the overall restrictive press freedom climate in Saudi Arabia at the highest levels of government and with the media during your visit. Thank you for your attention to these serious concerns.Sincerely yours,Christophe DeloireSecretary GeneralReporters Without Borders (RSF) Receive email alerts December 11, 2016 – Updated on December 12, 2016 RSF urges Boris Johnson to raise case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi during Saudi Arabia visit Help by sharing this information RSF_en News News Organisation Follow the news on United Kingdom June 17, 2016 Find out more Newscenter_img United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalists ImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists RSF urges Prince Charles to raise press freedom during Gulf states visit November 8, 2016 Find out more June 7, 2015 Find out more Saudi blogger Raif Badawi completes fourth year in prison United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalists ImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists News Saudi court shows contempt for human dignity in Badawi case to go furtherlast_img read more

There Is No Greater Love! Lady Day Star Audra McDonald Greets the Press

first_imgThere’s only a few short weeks until Audra McDonald steps onstage to channel Billie Holiday in the new one-woman show Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and on March 17, the five-time Tony winner met the press! McDonald joined playwright Lanie Robertson and director Lonny Price at Pearl Studios in New York City to chat about the new production and share stories about the legendary singer. In Lady Day, Billie Holiday puts on a show at a small bar in Philadelphia that, unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witness to one of the last performances of her lifetime. Check out the press day photos, then see McDonald croon “Strange Fruit” and more in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, beginning March 25 at Circle in the Square Theatre! Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 5, 2014 Audra McDonald Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill Related Shows Star Files View Commentslast_img read more

Baseball Replays

first_imgAre baseball replays too long?  I am in agreement with the idea that it is best to get the call right over the speed of the call; however, 4 minutes is way too long.  In some of the Reds recent games most of the replays were in excess of 3 minutes.Why not have the umpires in New York call the play as they see it without knowing how the umpires on the field call the play?  Then they can make the call and this should speed up the game.  Now they are trying to decide if there is enough evidence to uphold the call, reverse the call, or simple let it go.They should keep replay, but with technology today you could certainly add more cameras to watch plays.  With close-up cameras on the field the call should be evident in less than a minute.last_img

Karim Benzema ‘dreams of Ballon d’Or’

first_imgReal Madrid striker Karim Benzema has revealed that he “dreams” of winning the coveted Ballon d’Or.Benzema’s club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have shared the accolade in the last seven years, but Benzema has claimed that he still harbours hopes of being recognised.”Winning the Ballon d’Or remains one of my objectives,” Benzema told BeIn Sports. “I am not going to lie about it. The Ballon d’Or is always in the back of my mind. Every player dreams of winning it.”What I would need to do to win it? I would have to win a lot of titles and score 80 goals or so in one year!”Since joining Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009, the 27-year-old has netted 130 goals in 273 games in Spain.last_img

Dodgers split-squad teams pound Padres, play to a tie vs. Yasiel Puig and Reds

first_imgRelated Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season THE GAME: The Dodgers scored eight times in the first three innings and went on to beat the San Diego Padres 12-0 Thursday night in Peoria. Earlier in the day, another Dodgers’ split-squad team played to a 3-3 tie with the Cincinnati Reds at Camelback Ranch.PITCHING REPORT: Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up three hits and two runs in the first inning but allowed just two more hits while going four innings against the Reds. … Lefty reliever Scott Alexander gave up a solo home run to Phillip Ervin in his one inning of work. … Relievers Dylan Floro, Jaime Schultz and Pedro Baez each pitched a scoreless inning. … Against the Padres, Kenta Maeda called it his “best outing of spring training” after he pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out six. … Top prospect Dustin May followed with three scoreless innings, allowing an infield single while striking out three.HITTING REPORT: Yasiel Puig was 1 for 3 with a single off Ryu in his first game against the Dodgers. … Infielder Jeter Downs (one of the two prospects acquired from the Reds in the trade that included Puig and Matt Kemp) was 1 for 2 with a double against his former team. … Kiké Hernandez was 1 for 3 and is batting .371 (13 for 35) this spring. … Catcher Will Smith tied the score with an RBI single in the sixth inning and went 2 for 4. … The Dodgers had 11 hits including five doubles and three home runs in the first four innings against the Padres. Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger and Brad Miller hit the homers. … A.J. Pollock (a single, double and walk) was on base in each of his first three plate appearances and scored runs each time. … Barnes was on base four times – two walks, an RBI double and a solo home run. … David Freese had two doubles and Joc Pederson three RBIs on his double. … Maeda had a double in his first at-bat of the spring.UP NEXT: Dodgers (LHP Julio Urias) at Reds (Reds RHP Tanner Roark), Friday, 6 p.m., Goodyear Stadium, SportsNet LA Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start last_img read more