London – CAGE is deeply concerned about reports that prosecutors in Saudi Arabia are seeking the death penalty against prominent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dr Salman al-Oudah.
Dr. Al-Oudah, is widely known throughout the Arab world and beyond for seeking positive reform in the Kingdom as well as engagement and understanding of other communities and beliefs.
In 1994, Al-Oudah was imprisoned for five years alongside Dr. Safar al-Hawali for seeking reforms in Saudi Arabia – following the First Gulf war and the establishment of US military bases on Saudi soil.
Since then, Dr. al-Oudah’s views on various subjects have been sought and praised by millions in the Muslim world. He currently has a twitter following of 14.3 million.
However, despite his positive influence, Dr al-Oudah was imprisoned again in September 2017 for failing to tweet in support of the Saudi blockade of Qatar. Instead, he advocated in favour of reconciliation.
CAGE Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg said:
“Sheikh Salman al-Oudah is a breath of fresh air in a country like Saudi Arabia. He is an independent thinker, a social reformer and he is unafraid to speak words of sense and compassion.”
“It has now emerged that Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Dr al-Oudah despite the fact he has been imprisoned without charge or trial in solitary confinement. They have cited his membership of the International Union of Muslim Scholars as the justification for this and designated it a terrorist entity.”
“Saudi Arabia, like many other countries, has adapted the language of the war on terror to challenge dissent or silence calls for positive reform. In this regard it is no different to many Western nations but also countries like Myanmar, China or Syria.
“To seek the death penalty against a man because he sought reform at home and reconciliation with neighbours can only end with upheaval in Saudi society. We call for his immediate release, and the release of other scholars who have been imprisoned for their views – one of which has already died, allegedly due to torture.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)