The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Al-Hamdulillah! This news brings hopes for reformists in the Kingdom" 

(Al-Hamdulillah = Thanks be to Allah (God))

..as the relatives of the released prisoners are quoted as saying. Why were they imprisoned? For being reformists of course. You can have sex with pre-pubescent girls in Saudi Arabia, and be a newspaper hero. But advocating political reform is a crime, and you get banged up for it. Then we bang up your lawyers as well.

Abdullah pardons 5 Saudi Reformers

King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, pardoned Monday night five Saudi reformers including three recently convicted protesters Ali Al-Domaini, Abdullah Al-Hamid and Matrouk Al-aleh who have been calling for political and judicial reforms in the country, as well as their lead lawyers Abdul Rahman Al-Laham and another Saudi intellectual, Dr. Saeed Bin Zair, who was earlier sentenced for five years imprisonment.
The papers and TV are full of Abdullah's mercy, wisdon etc., ignoring the fact that he put them in gaol in the first place, in the name of King Fahd who was:

- gaa-gaa
- in Marbella, Spain
- exchanging fluids with his intravenous Johnny Walker drip

at the time of their arrest and trial.

Prince Abdullah has been "the man" for the last 10 years, nothing happened without his involvement. Still, don't knock it. If you can lock people up for no good reason, and then receive fulsome praise when you release them, it sounds a lot more rewarding than my job, and no doubt yours as well.

Any other country, you'd sue the hell out of everyone for wrongful arrest. In Saudi, the same relatives have to perform the humiliating ritual of Worshipping and Adoring the Royal Buttocks. They are therefore quoted further:

We laud King Abdullah for his pardon of the three reformists and their lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-Laham as well as Dr. Saeed Bin Zair.

Mmm. I'm not sure that's quite grovelling enough; just a hint of feistiness at the back of the palate, like a Rioja wine. "We who are not fit to shovel up the droppings of his camel, humbly laud King Abdullah etc..." would be more appropriate. Otherwise our reformers, their lawyers, a few relatives, and a couple of passers-by could all find themselves scooped up and back in gaol. Absolute monarchs, like small children, can be very petulant.

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