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February 24, 2012

The lone protester: the Saudi teacher who stood against all odds

February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

It will be a day carved into history. Following Tunisia and Egypt's revolution, the Facebook page of the Saudi revolution called for a protest on the 11th of March, 2011 in Riyadh; they called it "the Day of rage". The media was lined up to cover the demonstration, while security forces were heavily deployed to repress any dissent, as usual. No one showed up for some time, until suddenly, Khaled al-Johani, a 42 year old Saudi school teacher, parked his car and came out to record his stance. The Royal family "does not own us". And when asked about his fate after speaking out to the press, he acknowledged that he'll be in prison, but it won't be a great change, as "we live in a big prison".

Al-Johani has been rightly named the bravest man in Saudi Arabia. He has been detained since that day; his son was born while in detention. Amnesty International has recently called for his release. This is what they said:


The trial before a state security court of a Saudi Arabian school teacher arrested nearly a year ago after he arrived to demonstrate on the “Day of Rage” in Riyadh is an affront to his basic rights, Amnesty International said today. Khaled al-Johani stood trial today before the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, a tribunal set up in 2008 to try detainees held on terrorism-related charges. The court adjourned his case until early April.“Khaled al-Johani shouldn’t be standing trial in any court for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Philip Luther, Interim Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme."


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