Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2012) – International Christian Concern (ICC) and the Ethiopian community in Washington D.C. will be holding their 3rd public protest demanding Saudi Arabia release 35 Ethiopian Christians arrested for praying at a private home on December 15, 2011. The protest will be held on Monday June 25th, at 10 a.m. in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy located at 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037.
Unfortunately, after nearly six months of imprisonment, the 29 women and six men remain imprisoned and have yet to be charged with a crime or even told why they were arrested in the first place. This is despite numerous calls from offices on Capitol Hill to the Saudi embassy, including to Ambassador Al-Jubeir directly, inquiring into the situation and expressing concern over their arrest and ongoing detention.
Representatives from the Saudi embassy have also held at least four meetings with Congressional staffers on this topic, but have yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for the arrest, treatment of the prisoners, or the nearly six-month-long detention. Congressional staffers who have spoken with or met the Saudi embassy representatives have been given the distinct impression that the Saudi government is not seriously interested in addressing this case.
Approximately three weeks ago, a source in Saudi Arabia reported that the prisoners had repeatedly been taken to a “processing center” and were under the impression that they would soon be released. Their hopes were dashed, however, after the process was repeated on several occasions, only to end in the prisoners being returned to their cells with no new information.
ICC’s Advocacy Officer, Ryan Morgan, said, “At ICC, we believe that safeguarding basic human rights, including religious freedom, is fundamental to the development of a peaceful society. In a region that has seen great strides towards democracy over the past year, the arbitrary arrest of religious minorities sets a dangerous precedent and promotes a level of intolerance which can only help to fuel radical ideologies. Our hope is that drawing attention to this case will not only result in the release of these 35 men and women, but also prevent countless future individuals from being subjected to the same fate. Join us in Washington D.C. on Monday as we protest this blatant violation of religious freedom and demand the release of these prisoners of conscience.”
Call the Saudi Arabian Embassy in your country and ask them to release the prisoners.
United States: (+1) 202 342 3800
Canada: (+1) 613 237 4100
United Kingdom: (+44) 207 9173-000
Australia: (+61) 2 6250 7000
Germany: (+49) 30 88 92 50
France: (+33) 1 56 79 4000