Save Saudi Refugee

I have a friend who’s name I cannot share. Death has been stalking him but he has always defied the odds in search of a peaceful, simple life. Currently the death sentence awaits him in his home country of Saudi Arabia, a result of religious persecution. In the next 3 weeks, he needs your help paying legal fees to sustain his fight for safety here in the United States.

Though you may not know my friend by name, you do know him; he is interwoven in all of humanity. When you witness acts of altruistic kindness, sacrificing of last dollars, you know my friend. When you see souls who are genuine and dedicated, gentle to their core, you know my friend. When you notice resilience and bravery, an unabashed determination to live freely, you know my friend. Please consider donating and sharing his incredible story of persistence and strength with your community. And read on to learn more about my friend...

My friend has lived through terrors which I can only equate to twisted scripts of horror movies that are common in our society. In his boyhood, he faced a rapist that led to his wrongful imprisonment, torture that led to strings of ongoing heart attacks, and witnessing of a friend’s murder. He has lived through incessant violence and has been imprisoned four times-  results of self-defense against a rapist, self-expression and speaking his truth. He grew up in a culture of widespread conflict, religious divide that is splintering societies and damaging personal lives.

After nearly two decades of living in this waking nightmare, fearing for his life and the lives of his family, he fled to the United States from Saudi Arabia, seeking refuge in what he thought was the welcoming melting-pot of the world, where freedom is attainable and dreams can come true. Unfortunately, the journey has been anything but easy.  

Since his arrival 7 years ago, he has continued to face religious and cultural maltreatment. The victim of hate crimes, break-ins, stabbings and street harassment, he carries on, in search for that simple, peaceful life. He has started his life anew; beginning homeless, becoming fluent in English and finding love. Only in his early 20s, he is still facing health problems as a result of torture as a young teen. He lives with daily migraines and has had two heart attacks, one at age 12 and another three years ago, which left him with frequent chest pain and heart murmurs. He applied for a marriage visa, generally a straightforward task, that has become very complicated since Saudi Arabia is seeking his execution. Two years and too many loans later, there’s still no relief in sight. I feel his desperation, and as the least I can do for him, am trying to raise funds in the following 3 weeks to help right this social wrong before it’s too late. Any donation, no matter how small, would greatly aid my friend and give him and his wife a fighting chance.

Don’t be fooled, although my friend cannot be named, you do know him. He is the friend who will put your concerns first, despite his own painful circumstances. He is the friend who offers more than he takes. He is the friend who gives his last pennies to those he who deems more desperate than himself. He is all that is good in humanity. And right now he is in need. As his legal fees continue to increase, he is faced with being returned to Saudi Arabia, where a death sentence awaits him. I will withdraw the funds on behalf of my friend and directly pay off his growing legal bills with each new donation.  Please, exercise your brotherly love, give what you can to help my friend, a friend of mankind.
Learn more about the Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia:
1. “Saudi Arabia has been trumpeting its progress in reforming the justice system, but these convictions demonstrate how far the kingdom still has to go to guarantee fair trials and the rights of detainees, particularly of perceived government critics,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It beggars belief that courts didn’t care if the confessions they used to convict were obtained through torture.” [Human Rights Watch]
2. “In countries which have been governed by Sunnis, Shia tend to make up the poorest sections of society. They often see themselves as victims of discrimination and oppression. Sunni extremists frequently denounce Shia as heretics who should be killed.” [BBC]
3. “The persecution of this minority community began long before the current wave of conflict. Human Rights Watch has documented this pervasive discrimination for years: Shiite citizens do not receive equal treatment under the justice system, and the government impairs their ability to practice their religion freely.” []
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Erika de la Cuadra 
Colorado Springs, CO
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