Saudi court dropped the death sentence against Palestinian poet Ahsraf Fayadh, instead sentenced him to 8 years in jail and 800 lashes to be carried in sixteen occasions.
Fayadh is a member of Edge of Arabia, a British Saudi art organization which organised itinerant shows around the world, including two Collateral Events of the Venice Biennale in 2011 and 2013.
Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “Instead of beheading Ashraf Fayadh, a Saudi court has ordered a lengthy imprisonment and flogging. No one should face arrest for peacefully expressing opinions, much less corporal punishment and prison. Saudi justice officials must urgently intervene to vacate this unjust sentence.”
He was first arrested at the beginning of 2014 accused of having promoted atheism in a book of his poems he had published back in 2008: Instruction Within. After his arrest he was sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes. The appeal was passed to a different judge and Fayadh was sentenced to death in November 2015.
- Ashraf Fayadh
- Ashraf Fayadh with Chris Dercon during Jeddah art week. Photo: Ashraf Fayadh, via Instagram.