In support of Ashraf Fayadh

English PEN along with other campaigns in the We are Raif coalition make the call to free poet Ashraf Fayadh, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for apostasy.

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Ashraf Fayadh (right) with Chris Dercon. (Credit: Ashraff Ayadh/Instagram)

Last week, Ashraf Fayadh, a poet, artist, curator, and member of British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia, was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for apostasy.

Fayadh was first detained in August 2013 in relation to his collection of poemsInstructions Within. He was released on bail but rearrested in January 2014. Months later, in May 2014, the General Court of Abha found proof that Fayadh had committed apostasy but had repented for it. The charge was dropped, but he was nevertheless sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes in relation to numerous charges related to blasphemy.

Eighteen months later a judge has declared that repentance was not sufficient grounds for the apostasy charge to be dropped, and reversed the previous ruling. Last week, Fayadh was sentenced to death.

In the days since, rights groups and international organisations have strongly condemned the sentence, while poets and writers, including Ruth Padel, Simon Schama, and George Szirtes are among the individuals who have spoken out on Fayadh’s behalf.

Read what Ruth, Simon and George have to say in the full article on English PEN’s website from this link


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