carta oberta dŽEmma Bonino al prof. Al-Qahtani


November 18, 2008

Dear Sir,

I am writing to express my support for the action you are undertaking in defence of human rights and the Rule of Law in Saudi Arabia. With your brave initiative you are drawing attention to the fundamental principles underlying International Laws, and particularly on freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, which does apply to all countries including Saudi Arabia.

Your recourse to non-violence through your hunger-strike is an example to all peoples. As a member of a Party whose symbol is Ghandi's image, we hold true to his teaching that: "Non violence is the first article of my faith, it is also the last article of my creed.".

I am pleased to inform you that your initiative has been widely reported in the Italian press and received great public attention. As I mentioned, I am the Vice-President of the Italian Senate for the Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party and I have, myself together with my friends, conducted numerous non-violent struggles through hunger strikes to defend the rule of law, the respect of democratic values and human rights and dignity, both in Italy and around the world.

Therefore, myself and all members of my Party, stand together in solidarity with your nonviolent political action, particularly in this time and in a region, the Middle East, that has an urgent need for activists to promote core principles of humanity through nonviolent methods.

This has been, throughout the last years, the effort I conducted including in particular together with the international organisation No Peace Without Justice, that has been active since 2004 in your region to foster effective and durable dialogue mechanisms between civil society and governments on issues of democratic reform and human rights protection and promotion.

Please consider us at your side in this moment and we encourage you to visit our websites No Peace Without Justice and Nonviolent Radical Party.

With my very best wishes for your ongoing struggle,

Emma Bonino
Vice-President of the Italian Senate

Dear Madam,

On behalf of my colleagues and fellow human right activists in Saudi Arabia, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to your letter of support. Your kind words are very much needed particularly in this time after we have succeeded in introducing a peaceful and civic culture of protest without resorting to violent means. Although we have taken all precautionary steps possible to avoid any confrontation with the security forces, the suppressive witch hunts continue against those who organized or participated in the hunger strike. After engaging in a "state of denial" vis-à-vis our hunger-strike initiative, the Saudi secrete police "General Bureau of Investigation" went around intimidating and threatening people in order to sway them away from joining our campaign. The retributions taken by the Saudi authority ranged from blocking blogs that are sympathetic with our cause to canceling my TV show that deals with issues of human rights and civic society in a Pan-Arab satellite channel.

We would like to assure you and all human right activists through out the world that we are determined more than ever to attain our liberty and freedom withstanding all oppressive and suppressive practices taken by the regime. This peaceful campaign will continue until our countrymen are enfranchised into the political processes.

Your efforts of bringing values of democracy in the Arab Middle East are very much appreciated.


Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani, Ph. D.
Professor of Economics and a Former TV Talk Show Host