By Iqbal Tamimi
Saudi human rights activist, Samar Badawi, who received the prestigious "Women of Courage Award" from the US State Department after she filed a lawsuit against her father challenging the kingdom's rigid guardian system for women, is campaigning now for her husband’s rights of self-expression.
The couple share an inspiring story of love and courage, and their struggle for reform is offering a voice for the voiceless and they represent the new generation of educated Saudis who are aspiring for better future for all.
Badawi, was supported by her husband, lawyer and prominent activist, Waleed Abul-Khair, when she filed lawsuits against the Saudi government demanding rights for women to vote and drive. Now, she is campaigning for his rights after he was accused yesterday, Monday 4 June 2012 by Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor of 'disrespecting' judiciary and ‘contacting foreign organisations’ and signing a petition demanding the release of detainees as his wife told AFP by telephone.
Abul-Khair was summoned by the prosecutor in the city of Jeddah who accused him of "disrespecting the judiciary system... contacting foreign organisations and signing a petition demanding the release of detainees," some of whom are being held over terror links, Samar Badawi said.
If charged, Abul-Khair, could be jailed for between six months and a year. He will appear again to "respond to the accusations" late in August, she said.
In March, Saudi authorities banned Abul-Khair from travelling to the United States where he had been due to attend a forum organised by the US State Department.
In February 2011, he signed two petitions demanding political reform in the kingdom.
Abul-Khair has also created a group on social networking website Facebook - Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi - which has more than 5,000 members. According to the US-based Human Rights Watch, access to the group's page on Facebook has been blocked.