Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Save Ashraf Fayadh: Urgent Appeal The artist and poet has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia

Save Ashraf Fayadh: Urgent Appeal The artist and poet has been sentenced to 
death in Saudi Arabia
November 2015
UN rights experts urge Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Palestinian 
poet Ashraf Fayadh
3 December 2015, press release, UN Human Rights, 
Office of the High Commissioner
While at the United Nations Headquarters in New York takes place an
art event (16 - 27 Nov.) of Art Jameel, in partnership with Edge of Arabia (EOA)
and the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN [1], EOA's former member
Ashraf Fayadh has been sentenced to death by a Court in Saudi Arabia.
As Human Rights Watch states, Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death on
November 17, 2015, for alleged blasphemous statements during a discussion
 group and in a book of his poetry (from 2008) [2]. The Court reverses earlier
 ruling of 4 years and 800 lashes. Fayadh denies the charges and claims that
a man made false accusations to the country’s religious police following a
personal dispute, what has been confirmed by three witnesses contesting
the testimony of that man. Fayadh has 30 days to file his appeal (counting
up from 17 November). [3]
Ashraf Fayadh is an artist and poet who respects and honours the culture and
civilization of Saudi Arabia. His poems inspire readers to reflect on issues
related to the spirit and life. His commitment as artist and curator supports
and helps the creative talent of young artists in Saudi Arabia, contributing
to make their talent and achievements known in the country and abroad.
With this goal, Fayadh co-curated the exhibitionRhizoma (Works by a younger
generation of Saudi Arabian artists) at the Venice Biennale 2013, together with
Sara Raza (currently Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for the Middle East
and North Africa), organized by Edge of Arabia, and supported by
Art Jameel. [4]
Earlier in 2013, Ashraf Fayadh curated the exhibition titled Mostly Visible
(24 artists from Saudi Arabia) as part of the Jeddah Art Week in Saudi Arabia.
On this occasion, we were in touch with him via email, publishing a feature on
 the show, for which he wrote a statement. Fayadh stressed that the goal of
this exhibition was to highlight "the real side of how art can be, simple, authentic,
with little funding and lots of self-effort, with the soul of team work, inspired by our
own culture, our own lifestyle, issues and concerns, and raising the level of
 awareness of our society by drawing the attention to the social, popular, and
genuine culture." [5] The exhibition Mostly Visible was very successful and got
a lot of attention, nationally and internationally. It was featured by Saudi TV,
and visited and praised by international personalities, such as Chris Dercon,
at that time director of the Tate Modern in London. [6]
Contribute to save the life of Ashraf Fayadh by sending letters of appeal
to the King and other authorities and the embassies of Saudi Arabia!

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