For the “crime” of telling Twitter followers he believes LGBTQ people have rights and “should be able to practice them freely,” a Yemeni blogger has been sentenced by a Saudi court to 10 months in prison, a fine equal to $2,700 and eventual deportation.
Human Rights Watch reports that Mohamad al-Bokari, left Yemen in June 2019 after receiving death threats. He’d been living in Saudi Arabia as an undocumented migrant when he was arrested on April 8.
The 29-year-old was asked on Twitter for his views on same-sex relations and in a video, he answered, “Everyone has rights and should be able to practice them freely, including gay people.”
A spokesman for Riyadh’s police department issued a statement saying the video contained “sexual references” that “violate public order and morals.” He was charged with violating public morality by promoting homosexuality online, and “imitating women.”
Prior to his trial, al-Bokari was held in solitary confinement in a cell with no windows, air conditioning or proper ventilation. He was provided no legal counsel for his trial.
After his sentencing, he was placed in a cell with other prisoners who harassed and verbally abused him saying he “deserves the death penalty.”
Human Rights Watch says his health has declined since the trial as he suffers from a chronic heart condition. Tests were administered but he was discharged without learning the results. Doctors reportedly denied he has any heart condition and have refused him any medication.
Bokari was sentenced on July 20 and has 30 days to appeal.
While Saudi Arabia has no laws on the books regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, judges often reference uncodified Islamic law to punish people accused of having sexual relations outside marriage, including adultery, extramarital and homosexual sex, or other “immoral” acts.
After studying the 150 countries that had the most international tourists, travel bloggers at Asher & Lyric ranked the worst countries for LGBTQ travelers.
Among the factors considered were laws regarding same-sex relations, propaganda/morality laws, worker protections & protections against discrimination and more.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and 7th most populous in the world, has the dubious distinction of taking the top spot on the list.
Here are the top five most dangerous countries for LGBTQ travelers:
5. Tanzania – homosexuality can be punished by 30 years to life in prison; ‘indecent behavior’ in regard to homosexuality can result in 5 years in prison
4. Saudi Arabia – homosexual acts can be punished by the death penalty, 100 lashes or banishment for a year; gender expression is illegal
3. Yemen – homosexuality among men can result in 100 lashes, a year in prison if unmarried or stoning to death if married; women caught in same-sex relations can receive 100 lashes and/or 3 years in prison
2. Qatar – homosexual acts can result in 1-3 years in prison, flogging and/or the death penalty
1. Nigeria – homosexuality receives up to 14 years in prison or the death penalty; the mere discussion of LGBTQ rights is illegal
The bloggers note that “certain cities, tourist areas or resorts can sometimes be LGBTQ+ friendly even when the laws of the country as a whole are very anti-LGBTQ+. In all cases, do your research.”
President Trump declared his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Tuesday, declaring that the prince’s culpability in the killing of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, might never be known.
“It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said in a remarkable, eight-paragraph, exclamation-point laden statement that appeared calculated to end debate over the American response to Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.
“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” Mr. Trump said in the statement, which read like a verbatim transcript of the president’s off-the-cuff musings. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
“Maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t!”
After more than a month of international outrage, confirmation by our intelligence organizations that the Crown Prince knew of the killing, and calls for the US to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for murdering a US resident and journalist, the Trumpster just said that it won’t happen.
This is an immoral, repugnant statement by a corrupt POTUS, whose financial interests remain secret. He smears the victim, and he smears those in Congress who care about national security and human rights. It is now open season for autocrats to murder people connected to America. https://t.co/OQkTFFmH7Y
Imagine being tortured and dismembered and then having the president of the country that is supposed to hold your killers accountable instead repeat their smears against you while he gives them a pass.
So if you are a U.S. person who is kidnapped, tortured, and killed for exercising your rights by a country in which the President happens to have a personal and financial interest, he’ll stand with that country, not with you — and he considers that putting “America first.”
After spending days accepting Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the skepticism of world leaders, Donald Trump changed course saying, “Somebody really messed up.”
According to HuffPost, Trump told reporters at the White House today, “They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. Very simple. Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up.”
Full Trump quote on Saudi killing of Khashoggi:
“They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. Very simple. Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up.”
On Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey told lawmakers in his country that he did not believe Saudi Arabia’s initial explanation for Khashoggi’s death and openly accused Saudi officials of carrying out premeditated murder.
“The information obtained so far and the evidence found shows that Khashoggi was murdered in a ferocious manner,” Erdogan said.
Trump, who’s known for his own blunt style, called Erdogan’s comments “pretty rough.”
Trump also indicated that Congress should decide how to proceed on the matter.
“In terms of what we ultimately do, I’m going to leave it very much — in conjunction with me — I’m going to leave it up to Congress,” Trump said.
Bob Corker says he thinks Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was behind the death of Jamal Khashoggi: “Do I think he did it? Yes, I think he did it. Let’s finish this investigation.” (via CNN) pic.twitter.com/4iK0czLIPt
After days and days of defending the Saudi Arabian government, Donald Trump is finally shifting his position (in the face of mounting evidence) regarding the Saudi’s story regarding the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggie.
President Trump retreated late Saturday from his stance that Saudi Arabia’s story about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside their Turkish consulate was credible but still gave a strong vote of confidence to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, arguing the United States’ relationship with the kingdom is key to his administration’s policy objectives in the Middle East.
“Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post when pressed on the many discrepancies in the changing accounts from the Saudis. “Their stories are all over the place.”
He did not call for the ouster of Mohammed and instead praised his leadership, calling the prince “a strong person, he has very good control.” During the 20-minute interview, Trump repeatedly talked about the importance of the economic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia and Mohammed’s role in that relationship.
During an appearance on Fox News this morning, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said that he does not believe Saudi Arabia’s explanation that Khashoggi died in a fist fight gone wrong at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
“There’s no way 15 people were sent to Turkey to kill a dissident without the approval of the crown Prince,” Paul said, referencing the fifteen Saudis reportedly involved in Khashoggi’s death.
“I think we really need to discontinue our arms sales to Saudi Arabia and have a long and serious discussion about whether or not they want to be an ally or they want to be an enemy,” added Paul.
As the scandal revolving around the disappearance and death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues to grow, some former supporters of Saudi Arabia are feeling like they’ve been played.
During an appearance on Fox & Friends this morning, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham promised never to work with Saudi Arabia again as long as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (often referred to as MBS) is in charge of the country.
Graham made a point to say how often he’s defended the country on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Graham also said he intends to “sanction the hell” out of Saudi Arabia.
“This guy has got to go. Saudi Arabia, if you’re listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself,” Graham told the TV audience.
“I can never do business with Saudi Arabia again until we get this behind us,” Graham announced. “That means I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy is in charge.”
On @foxandfriends, @LindseyGrahamSC describes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered…the MBS figure is toxic. He can never be a world leader…This guy’s got to go. Saudi Arabia if you’re listening, MBS has tainted your country.” pic.twitter.com/dGRDRVsztc
Meanwhile, after Donald Trump initially told the press that Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s death (which poses some questions about the Trumpster ‘believing’ who he wants to believe), now he’s putting some distance between himself and the Saudis tweeting he has “no financial interests” with the country.
For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!
Here’s the video of Trump at his July 2015 rally boasting he makes “a lot of money” to the tune of “hundreds of millions” of dollars selling things to the Saudis and Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/QrjrnF4Hen