On December 6, 2015, Shiite rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham
was arrested in the majority Sunni Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Among other things, she was charged with "participating in protests, chanting slogans hostile to the regime, attempting to inflame public opinion, filming protests and publishing on social media, and providing moral support to rioters" and was subsequently convicted. All of these acts are non-violent, but nevertheless, al-Ghomgham has been in prison ever since. Now, Saudi prosecutors have taken the unprecedented step of recommending beheading as her final punishment.
Executions or even beheadings are unfortunately not uncommon in the oil-rich state. In fact, they have one of the highest execution rates in the world. In one day in January of 2016 the nation killed 47 people and this year, the government put nearly 50 people to death in less than 4 months. What is remarkable about al-Ghomgham's impending execution is that the women's and Shiite rights activist was not involved in any violent crimes, nor terrorism
, rather she was fighting to create a more just world for the religious minority. Unfortunately, doing so in Saudi Arabia is considered a capital crime.
Human rights organizations around the world have condemned the decision to execute Israa who will have a chance to appeal in October.
So as the clock winds down, the United States government should act quickly to condemn the court's decision to execute a non-violent human rights activist and offer to give her asylum.
America has been a champion for human rights, albeit, at times, an imperfect one, but we should not sit back and watch idly by when one of our allies is about to commit a grievous miscarriage of justice. Asylum is a legal immigration option that was specifically designed to offer safe harbor to those who are persecuted unjustly in their home country — and Israa al-Ghomgham's case is no different. Ask the Trump Administration to denounce Ms. al-Ghomgham's sentence. Sign the petition and tell our government to offer her asylum.