The international literature festival Berlin (ilb) is calling on “all individuals, institutions, schools and media outlets that care about justice and freedom to participate in a worldwide reading of selected poems and other texts in support of Ashraf Fayadh,” a Palestinian poet who has been sentenced to death by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
This week, an appeal was filed on Fayadh’s behalf.
Also this week, in articles in The Guardian and Vice, the Palestinian poet and artist — sentenced to death by the government of Saudi Arabia, where he is a long-time resident — expressed hope of his release. He was able to speak to the artist Ahmed Matar, who passed along his comments.
Mater told The Guardian: “Last time I spoke to him he really thought he was going to die. For the first time he talked about what he would do if he gets out.”
To Vice, Mater said: “Things are going in the right direction. This pressure worked very well — the news — all of this was good. … He’s OK. He’s waiting. He’s feeling much better because everyone is with him.”
To keep up the pressure, organizers at the international literature festival Berlin are asking anyone who can to participate in a worldwide reading for Fayadh on January 14, 2016.
Fayadh, who has been in prison since January 2014 on flimsy charges attaching to his supposed apostasy, which the appeal contests, and his poetry collection Instructions Within (2008), was sentenced to death last month. According to The Guardian, the appeal argues his initial arrest was unlawful as it was ordered not by state prosecutors, but by the religious police. Additionally, “The allegation of apostasy made by Shaheen bin Ali Abu Mismar, who is alleged to have had a personal dispute with the poet, was not corroborated by other evidence, which goes against the principles of sharia law.”
If you’re in London: