Syed Ali Wasif, President of the Society for International
Reforms & Research in an interview with Press TV
February 27, 2012
A Saudi journalist
named Hamza Kashgari made the mistake of opening a Twitter account. Several
tweets that he posted are liable to cost him his life. What aroused the anger
of the masses and the fury of the palace are the comments he made about
religious “values” of Islam and its prophet Mohammed.
self-appointed defenders of God and guardians of the prophet, convened and
discussed the burning issue. After a “profound discussion” they decided that
the journalist’s tweets were words of “heresy” and that he must be tried
according to the laws of Islam practiced in the kingdom. In such cases, as we
know, the accused can expect the death penalty.
The issue was even
placed on the table of the Saudi king himself. He ordered the arrest of the
journalist, who tried to get to New Zealand. Kashgari was arrested at a
stopover at the airport of the Malaysian capital. The many protests to the
Malaysian government against the arrest made by international organizations
were to no avail. Malaysia handed Kashgari over to Saudi security people, who
flew him back to Saudi Arabia.
A prominent activist
says the Saudi monarchy is abusing and torturing people in the country’s
Eastern Province who are justified in their pursuit of self-determination.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Syed Ali
Wasif, President of the Society for International Reforms & Research,
to further discuss the issue.
The following is a
transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Religious dignitaries as well as other
influential people have called on the monarchy to stop the violence. How likely
is it that the monarchy will listen to this plea?
Ali Wasif: Well, it’s very unlikely. It’s next to
impossible because this is a matter of habitual control of the government there
in Saudi Arabia. Looking at the history of the Saudi regime, Saudi monarchy,
this seems nearly impossible.
Basically an absolute
monarchy, they do not care about the civil rights and liberties, about human
rights, about democracy, all those norms which are contrary to the democratic
and well accepted norms in Western society especially in the United States.
This case of Saudi
Arabia and the restive eastern province, actually you can equate that case to
East Timor, the case to Pakistan-Balochistan, the case to Bosnia-Herzegovina
and a recent case to South Sudan. They all had similar problems.
In fact, south Sudan
was a case in point where you had similar problems where you demanded the right
to self-determination. They were crushed according to UN and Western sources,
the EU and the United States, that they were being persecuted.
So is the case with
eastern Saudi Arabia. Same is the case with east Timor.
The United Nations
intervened in South Sudan. The United Nations intervened in Bosnia and they
gave them the right of self-determination. So what about east Saudi Arabia? Why
not a right to self-determination to those people who are being crushed, being
suppressed and are being denied of their basic rights?
The entire oil
resources of Saudi Arabia, the entire earning of Saudi Arabia is dependent upon
the oil of the eastern province. And these are the people who are being
deprived of the basic necessities of life. These are flagrant violations of
human rights and other international legal norms, civil rights and liberties
and, of course, Western values.
So where is the
Congress of the United States and the European Union to [give] the right of the
self-determination to the eastern province of Saudi Arabia? Why don’t they
intervene in this case? Where are the United Nations Security Council and the
United Nations General Assembly?
Where is the [judge]
of the Spanish human rights court, and the Belgium human rights to indict the
Saudi Interior Minister Nayef [bin Abdul Aziz] and other Saudi princes, those
involved in atrocities against those oppressed people of the eastern part of
They should be
indicted and controlled with international legal norms just as the Spanish
court indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998, and he was put
Same was the case with
the Israeli former leaders indicted by the Belgium court of human rights for
human rights violations.
So where is the
Belgium court of human rights, where is the Spanish court of human rights, the
European court of human rights and the American Congress which looks for
people… looking for their rights and they support them? Now what is the problem
with them for supporting the eastern part of Saudi Arabia?
This is a case in
point under international legal norms, a case in point for a right to
self-determination. The Eastern province of Saudi Arabia should be equated with
East Timor of Indonesia, with South Sudan and with Bosnia-Herzegovina…
Press TV: It baffles the mind, does it not, as to how
much courage it takes for these people to come out on the streets in countries
like Saudi Arabia where police brutality and torture is the status quo. Taking
that into account, how significant is the holding of any demonstrations inside
Saudi Arabia however small or large?
Ali Wasif: Well, I think that is totally dependent upon
the people and the leadership there who are on the streets. It is very
significant for the people to remain on the streets, to defy the absolute
monarchy which is in contradiction with the Islamic principles, Sharia law, and
in contradiction with the European law with international principles and human
Whatever they are
doing is totally under the umbrella of international legal norms. They should
remain on the streets and they should demand their rights, their right to
self-determination and the right to demand their own government and human
rights and civil rights there.
Source: Live Trading News