Taking action for Freedom of speech - Official launch of Raif Badawi's foundation for Freedom

MONTREAL, Sept.11, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Today the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom was officially launched by friends and family. The Foundation is named after the blogger, who is imprisoned since 2012. Raif Badawi was condemned to a thousand lashes in Saudi Arabia, for he was accused of apostasy and of insult to Islam. The Foundation's objectives are to providie education on the topic of freedom of press and freedom of speech.

The announcement was made successively in Germany and in Montreal. The President, Mrs. Ensaf Haidar, Mr. Badawi's spouse, was in Berlin to meet with dignitaries in order to gain their support regarding her husband's liberation, atop of taking part in the press conference. "I am truly grateful for the support that has emerged across the world for the Foundation. This justifies in my opinion, its very existence and its necessity," declared Mrs Haidar. "Its goal happens to embody Raif's values, who would be very happy to see that his struggle is a concern for so many people around the world," added Mrs. Haidar. It is to be noted that Mr. Badawi will be honorary president of the Foundation.

The Foundation will organize seminars, conferences and workshops to contribute to fundamental research by university professors and scientists. It will nurture relationships with both government and non-governmental organizations in order to disseminate the results of those studies. "The central idea is to create an open platform in the Arab world and make it available to journalists, and particularly bloggers, so they can count on useful and practical tools in their occupation, or to create the conditions where journalism can thrive," declared for her part Mrs. Evelyne Abitbol, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Foundation. "We are committed to act in respect of cultural and state differences. That is the exact reason we created a diverse advisory committee, composed of intellectuals, writers, essayists and journalists from around the world," added Mrs. Abitbol.

An Appeal to Federal Political Parties
The Executive Director of the Foundation also used the opportunity to call upon the federal political parties to take action in the context of Canadian federal elections. "Today, I am asking Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper and Elizabeth May to take a stand for the rights of bloggers and journalists imprisoned simply for doing their job. I invite them to commit clearly in favour of the freedom of press and to put forward concrete measures for the release of the blogger Raif Badawi,"summoned Ms. Abitbol.

At the same time, Ms. Abitbol calls upon the public's generosity to support the foundation. " That Foundation belongs to everyone. That's why we launched a fundraising campaign," concludes the Executive Director of the Foundation.

Legal standing
The legal standing of the Foundation was created by the lawyers of Juripop Legal Clinic. "This is a true honor for us to be chosen to contribute to that very necessary initiative. Juripop's institutional values have always been that there needs to be a space for public debate and that the right to be able to make your case according to the Rule of Law is fundamental," declared for his part Julien David-Pelletier, Executive Director of Juripop. "Raif Badawi is in prison for his ideas, which constitutes an unforgiveable infringement on his fundamental human rights," concluded Mr David-Pelletier.

The website of the Foundation was launched at the end of the press conference held in Montreal. For more information visit www.fondationraifbadawi.org.


SOURCE Fondation Raif Badawi pour la liberté

For further information: Isabelle Pelletier, Coopérative Belvédère communication, ipelletier@coopbelvedere.com, 514 238-4178

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