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Archive for April 8th, 2011

Free Khaled al-Johani.

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In an oppressive dictatorship, like Saudi Arabia, only the boldest dare to speak out, Khaled al-Johani was one of them.

Now he’s been arrested and has vanished, Dana Kennedy reports:

“Khaled al-Johani, who teaches religion to elementary school students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is neither a revolutionary nor an activist, according to his brother. But even though no one in the country knew it at the time, the 40-year-old father of a 5-year-old autistic boy was imprisoned and cut off from his family after speaking out at last month’s planned “day of rage.”

His frustration over repressive Saudi laws and a lack of help from the government for his autistic son led him to show up at the “day of rage” one month ago today and let loose his anger in front of a BBC television crew, according to his brother. Because of the heavy police presence that squelched the March 11 protest, Khaled al-Johani was almost the only person there, Ali al-Johani told AOL News via Skype from Riyadh today.

“I’m here to say we need democracy, we need freedom,” Khaled al-Johani said to the surprised BBC crew, which wasn’t expecting him and didn’t find his name on the list of activists from Riyadh.

We need to speak freely. We will reach out, the government doesn’t own us. I was afraid to speak, but no more. We don’t have dignity, we don’t have justice! I have an autistic child, and they didn’t provide me with any support,” he said.

Khaled al-Johani said on camera that he knew he’d be arrested — and he was correct. After he returned to the home he shares with his wife and four young children, Saudi police arrived and arrested him in front of his family, Ali al-Johani said. He hasn’t been heard from or seen since. “

Listen to more at the Where is Khaled channel on YouTube.

Written by modernityblog

08/04/2011 at 23:26