Saudi Arabia reacts to Norway's human rights accusations

(AGI) - Riyadh, 3 mar. - Speaking in a right of reply, duringthe 2nd meeting, of the 28th Regular Session of Human RightsCouncil, yesterday, Saudi Arabia responded to comments made byNorway regarding the Gulf country's treatment of Saudi humanrights writer and activist Raif Badawi, saying that it did notaccept interference in its domestic affairs, which it saidviolates the principle of state sovereignty. Saudi Arabiya'snews agency, AlArabiya.net today reported that AmbassadorFaisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representativeto the United Nations Office and other internationalorganizations in Geneva, said, "The legal system

(AGI) - Riyadh, 3 mar. - Speaking in a right of reply, duringthe 2nd meeting, of the 28th Regular Session of Human RightsCouncil, yesterday, Saudi Arabia responded to comments made byNorway regarding the Gulf country's treatment of Saudi humanrights writer and activist Raif Badawi, saying that it did notaccept interference in its domestic affairs, which it saidviolates the principle of state sovereignty. Saudi Arabiya'snews agency, AlArabiya.net today reported that AmbassadorFaisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representativeto the United Nations Office and other internationalorganizations in Geneva, said, "The legal system in SaudiArabia fully respect human rights in conformity with Sharialaw." He added: "The Kingdom does not accept the interferencein its internal affairs, and rejects the encroachment on itssovereign right, including compromising the independence of itsjudiciary and integrity." This came as a response to commentsmade by the Norwegian State Secretary of the Ministry ofForeign Affairs, Bard Glad Pedersen, who spoke about hiscountry's concerns for Saudi Arabia's treatment of Mr. Badawi.In his speech at the meeting, Mr. Pedersen said that 2014 hadbeen a bleak year for human rights, and that many were lookingto the UN Council for concrete action. One of the concerns heraised, was the punishment of Mr. Badawi for commenting onpolitical and religious issues in Saudi Arabian society. "Themeaningless sentence against human rights activist Raif Badawiin Saudi Arabia is a violation of internationally recognisedlegal norms and must be revoked," he said. In press statementreleased today, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairsreiterated Norway's position on the case. Norway's Minister ofForeign Affairs Borge Brende said, "I deplore the fact that thepunishment of Saudi human rights defender Raif Badawi by publicflogging has begun, and call for this to be halted and for Mr.Badawi to be released." He added: "I call on the Saudiauthorities to heed the massive outcry from the internationalcommunity. I also urge the authorities to put a permanent stopto floggings and other inhuman forms of punishment." Last year,Norway protested when Mr. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes,10 years imprisonment, a 10-year travel ban, and a fine of 1million riyals (USD266,000). (AGI).