Saudi Arabia has no freedoms of speech, political belief, religion or other basic civil rights taken for granted in New Zealand and other democracies. The Koran is the Islamic kingdom’s constitution. When a young Saudi woman sentenced to 90 lashes after being gang-raped had the sentence increased to 200 lashes when she appealed, international pressure forced King Abdullah to pardon her. Some of that pressure came from our own prime minister. She could do well to speak out in support of Fouad al-Farhan too.
And the Hive is explicit:
New Zealand also doesn’t normally hold back when Saudi Arabia oversteps the mark. Even when we are in the middle of free trade negotiations with Saudi Arabia and the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. So why doesn’t New Zealand say something about Fouad al-Farham?? We have checked the Beehive website, Winston Peters’ Beehive page, MFAT’s homepage, and Scoop, but find nothing. The Hive team hopes that New Zealand attitudes to freedom of expression abroad have not changed as a result of the Electoral Finance Act coming into force.
I of course support their call for the NZ Government to make representations to the Saud Government on behalf of Fouad al-Farhan.
No Right Turn has details of how to e-mail the Ambassador to protest.