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Hundreds of Writers Join Worldwide Protest Against Poets Death Sentence

Saudi Arabia is planning to execute Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh

Writers responded to Saudi Arabia’s death sentence Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh with a massive worldwide reading on Thursday. Hundreds of writers, including high-profile authors like Irvine Welsh, read Fayadh’s poetry in events all around the world.

All told, 122 events were held in 44 different countries. A.L. Kennedy read in London, Irvine Welsh read in Chicago, and hundreds of other authors joined in around the globe.

Ashraf Fayadh was born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian refugee parents, and Saudi Arabian law considers him a refugee himself. He was accused of blasphemy after an argument in a cafe and is alleged to have renounced Island in his poetry collection Instructions Within. He denied both charges and was originally sentenced to 800 lashes.

However, Fayadh was recently re-tried by a new panel of judges and was sentenced to death. His father had a fatal stroke after hearing about the sentence, but Fayadh was not even allowed to attend the funeral.

The protest comes as Fayadh prepares for an appeal hearing before a panel of judges. Some writers, including nobel laureates Orhan Pamuk and Mario Vargas Llosa, have called on Western leaders to interfere.

 

Main image: AP