Petition Against Saudi Torture of Physicians sign now

Dear Ambassador;

News has been made of a recent decision by courts in Saudi Arabia to punish two Egyptian physicians, Rauf Amin Mohammad Al-Arabi and Shawky Abd-Rubbu, for prescribing morphine to a princess who subsequently became addicted to the drug. Media reports have claimed that Arabi prescribed morphine to the princess after she sustained injuries in a riding accident. The original sentence was to be 750 lashings for malpractice, however because the physicians appealed the sentence, the sentence was doubled to 1500 lashings and a 15 year prison sentence.

There are a number of injustices in this case. Firstly, there is the original sentence of 750 lashings for malpractice. This constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and is absolutely against the principles of human rights. Seven-hundred and fifty lashings is torture. Never in the history of mankind has a civilization prescribed corporal punishment to physicians for malpractice. Interestingly, even during the days of early Islam, physicians were asked to pay fines to cover medical costs in the event of malpractice. Secondly, for appealing their sentence, the two physicians then had their sentence doubled to 1500 lashings and 15 years in prison. Citizens of all nations should be allowed to appeal court decisions without fear of having their sentences increased and suffering harsher punishments. If the justice system in Saudi Arabia is committed to the pursuit of justice, then clients who believe that they have been wrongly convicted of a crime absolutely deserve the right to appeal in a fair court of law. Lastly, there exist allegations that the Saudi authorities have coerced the physicians into making false confessions and that the Saudi government is threatening to jail Al-Arabis wife due to the fact that she has been protesting this grave injustice.

The consequences of this case are numerous and dangerous. Perhaps the most alarming is that physicians acting in what they perceive as the best interest of their patient are being severely punished with 1500 lashings and 15 years in prison because a princess developed a physiological dependence on morphine. This is unprecedented in human history, and punishments such as this have only been documented in the most unjust of regimes. This sets a dangerous precedent for future malpractice cases and will eventually compromise the quality of patient care in Saudi Arabia. Secondly, as word of this atrocity spreads to the rest of the world, more well qualified and excellent physicians will be reluctant to serve the Saudi population within Saudi Arabia. This would go against the goal of Saudi Arabia becoming a leader in medicine in the Middle East and their goals of developing a sustainable healthcare system.

Thus, we demand the following: 1) The Saudi government must repeal the sentence and cease the lashings and jail sentences to these two men. 2) The Saudi Government must offer these physicians a fair appeal allowing them to have access to the lawyers of their choice. 3) In the event that these two men are found guilty the punishment for malpractice should be similar to that in other nations, rescinding the license of the physicians and subsequent fines. Physical punishment and torture for malpractice is unprecedented, immoral and inhumane. In addition, the details from this case must be made available to the world community especially the world legal and medical community so that professionals who may decide to work in Saudi Arabia in the future may understand the potential risks of working in this nation.

Since the Saudi authorities are not allowing these two physicians to speak for themselves about this complete injustice, we have chosen to speak for them.

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Aida BrandtBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Saudi Arabian Embassy in the United States

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