It seems that the British government has not heard of or have already forgotten Raif Badawi who faces 1,000 lashes with a cane, while his wife and children live in exile in Canada in constant fear for the life of their jailed husband and father. Three years ago, Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for allegedly “insulting” Islam. Today, Raja Khouja faces the same threat if deported from the UK.
Raja Khouja, 56, and her husband Mahmoud Alhassan, 67, came to the UK in 2010 for a holiday. They had previously lived in Syria. While they were in the UK, the Syrian conflict escalated. When Raja witnessed women’s rights being denied she spoke out and shared her views online. She has received documented threats of imprisonment, mutilation and death from the Saudi Mutawa (religious police) for speaking out on women’s rights. She has been reportedly branded as an ‘apostate’. Apostasy is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
Stranded in the UK due to the ongoing Syrian conflict, Raja and her husband applied for asylum in the UK but it is claimed that their claim has not been fully considered. Instead the Home Office plans to remove them on Thursday 25 June by Qatar Airlines to Saudi Arabia where Raja will be in extreme danger of state persecution.
Raja has spoken out for a cause and her deportation to Saudi Arabia would be a punishment for her good cause. A last minute campaign is gathering pace calling on the Home Office to stop the removal of Raja – a Syrian women’s rights campaigner, to release her from detention and grant her permission to stay in the UK.
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UPDATE: Mr Justice Dove and Upper Tribunal Judge Canavan have ordered a stay on the removal of the couple. Thanks for your support.