7,000 lashes for 'sodomy' could kill
Demo at Saudi Embassy in London
London - 19 October 2007
Fifty people picketed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London today, 19 October, in protest at the flogging and execution of gay people.
To download free use photos of the protest, click here:
Saudi protest, 19 October 2007
On the 2 October, two young men in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Bahah were convicted of 'sodomy' and sentenced to 7,000 lashes. In Saudi Arabia same-sex relations are illegal and the maximum penalty is death.
“7,000 lashes is a form of torture, calculated to cause maximum, prolonged suffering,” said protester Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group OutRage!
“So many lashes can be fatal, depending on how many are delivered at any one time,” he said.
The London protest was organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT campaign, with the support of OutRage!
The protest came just over a week ahead of the State Visit to the UK of the Saudi tyrant, King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud.
“As well as flogging and executing gay people, the Saudi leaders are guilty of detention without trial, torture and the public beheading women who have sex outside of marriage,” said Peter Tatchell.
“The Saudis import migrant workers to do menial tasks. They are treated like de facto slaves, frequently abused and with few rights. The media is heavily censored. Trade unions, political parties and non-Muslim religions are banned. The country is a theocratic police state.
“The British and US governments support the despotic, corrupt Saudi regime. Labour sells the Saudi leaders arms and honours them with state visits. It refuses asylum to gay Saudis who flee persecution and seek refuge in the UK,” he said.
“The Saudi leaders should be shunned until they stop their homophobic persecution and their many other human rights abuses,” said fellow OutRage! protester, Brett Lock.
“Next week’s State Visit by King Abdullah should be cancelled. Gordon Brown and The Queen should not be welcoming to Britain the head of a corrupt, tyrannical regime.
“We urge international solidarity to support the Saudi people’s struggle for democracy and human rights, in the same way that the world mobilised to support the struggle against apartheid in South Africa,” said Mr Lock. This view was echoed by NUS protest organiser, Scott Cuthbertson:
“We call on individuals and groups, LGBT or otherwise, to protest against the continued criminalisation, imprisonment, torture and murder of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“We handed in a letter of protest to the Saudi Ambassador, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, calling on his Government to respect the human rights of its own LGBT citizens. Please join us in the struggle for Love without Borders - LGBT rights around the world - and make your views known to the Saudi Ambassador,” he added.
“This year NUS LGBT Campaign is campaigning for 'Love without Borders'”, said Claire Anderson, the NUS LGBT Officer and co-organiser of the protest.
“Around the world, LGBT people are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered in state-sponsored homophobia. We live in a global community and no longer can we stand by while LGBT people are persecuted. Now is the time to use our freedom to fight for the rights of others across the globe. When abuses of human rights take place we must not be silent,” she said.