Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

Temporary reprieve for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi; Geoffrey Simpson challenges Canada doing business in Saudi Arabia

1. Raif Badawi update

Thank you to those OPSEU members who responded to our plea last week to protect the inhumane treatment of Saudi human rights activist,Raif Badawi. The second set of 50 lashes was cancelled last Friday for “medical reasons”. However, the publicity his barbaric treatment has received and the worldwide protests may also have been factors in providing him with a short reprieve from his weekly torture. Unfortunately, the sentence of an additional 950 lashes as well as ten years of imprisonment for the crime of being an independent blogger has not been lifted. Therefore, we ask for your continued support in freeing Raif Badawi so he may be reunited with his young family in Canada. Please check out Amnesty International’s on line petition at : There are also public demonstrations outside the Saudi embassy on Sussex Drive organized each Thursday at 4:00 by Amnesty International. You are welcome to join.

2.Globe and Mail: “Cozying up to Saudi Arabia: How can that be ‘principled’?”

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Simpson, respected columnist with the Globe and Mail, underscored in his Saturday article “Cozying up to Saudi Arabia: How can that be ‘principled’?” how principles are taking a back seat in Canada”s relationship with the Saudi regime. The link to his column is

3.New York Times: Man Who Filmed Execution Is Arrested, Saudi Outlets Say

This month a woman from Myanmar was beheaded in Saudi Arabia despite her protestations of innocence. A man who captured her barbaric death on video has himself been arrested for having filmed the execution. The New York Times  link

This is the regime our college is doing business with


Jack Wilson First VP, OPSEU Local 415

Free Speech met with a 100 lashes in Saudi Arabia

Our college is doing business in Saudi Arabia. The college claims it can be a force for change. Meanwhile, here is the reality.

Raif Badawi, an independent blogger who should be in Canada today with his wife and their three children, is spending time in Briman prison, Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia. Worse,for his crime of being an independent blogger critical of the regime, he has been sentenced to 1000 lashes to be administered at the rate of 50 per week. The public lashes began last Friday. See the BBC report at .

Furthermore, he has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment and a fine of 1 million riyals (about $299,000. CDN). After he serves a decade in jail, he is also forbidden to travel for the following decade and from participating in the media.

Since March 2011, according to Amnesty International the authorities have continued a relentless campaign of repression in the name of security. The authorities have cracked down on peaceful activists calling for reform and on demonstrators protesting against human right violations. Those who express dissent face arrest and imprisonment whether they are critics, bloggers,activists or academics. Raif Badawi is just one of many.

Please consider giving your voice in protesting this inhumane treatment through the campaign launched by Amnesty International at

Please consider forwarding this to your friends and other contacts interested in human rights.

Jack Wilson, 1st VP, OPSEU 415