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

OPSEU Local 415

OPSEU Local 415 is the democratically-run body that represents Algonquin College full-time and partial-load faculty (professors and instructors), cousellors, and librarians.

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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 :https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-raif-badawi. 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 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/cozying-up-to-saudi-arabia-how-can-that-be-principled/article22489227/?click=sf_globe

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  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/world/middleeast/man-who-filmed-saudi-execution-is-reportedly-arrested.html?src=mv

This is the regime our college is doing business with


Jack Wilson First VP, OPSEU Local 415

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