FIACONA demands US Government to intervene in unjustified arrests of Indian Christians in Saudi Arab


New York, The Federation of Indian American Christians of North America (FIACONA) has expressed deep shock

and anguish at the brutal arrests and jailing of peaceful, law abiding Indian Christians in Riyadh. It has made an urgent appeal to the US Government including the Department of State, Congress and the White House to intervene with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their release. Those arrested in the latest series of crackdowns have been picked up from their homes, places of work and public places. In this recent round of arrest around 24 individuals have been arrested and detained in an unknown location. The captives had been working within Saudi Arabia for number of years with valid passports, visas, and work permits. Typical of the arrests was that of Mr. N Daniel Samuel who had been residing and working in Saudi Arabia for 22 years. He was taken from his residence in Riyadh on Saturday May 28, 2005 while his personal property was rampaged in the course of a search during which his wife and 15-year-old son were locked up in one room. In a parallel case Mr. James George was arrested at home with his small children leaving them alone while his wife was away at work at the local hospital. Rev. Samkutty Varghese was on a visit to Saudi Arabia and was arrested on March 22, 2005, at 7:30 pm while waiting to board a public transport bus. Mr. Varghese' crime was apparently that he continued with a cell phone call to a friend at a time that the evening call to prayer had begun. He was found in possession of a Hindi Bible and by using his personal dairy a number of other christians have been arrests. Mr. Varghese has been sentences to 10 months in jail and periodic lashings. Numerous other similar stories could be told of violent attacks by the Saudi Government on peaceable, hard working people whose only fault is that they are Christians who may have been practicing their faith in the privacy of their own homes.On April 23, 2005, the Muttawa arrested 40 Pakistani nationals for celebrating Catholic Mass in a private house. While Saudi Arabia has traditionally followed a repressive policy in respect to permitting freedom of religion (other than Islam) the most recent arrests of dozens of Christians have been carried out with a shocking brutality. The United States continues to maintain strong economic ties with the Saudi regime. However the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has designated Saudi Arabia as a country of "particular concern". The Indian American Federation has appealed to the political leadership in the US to exercise its moral authority more strongly against these egregious violations of human rights and religious freedom within a country that is its strategic partner. A strong appeal at the appropriate level of the US Government against these latest arrests will have a profound impact on the brazen attitude of the Saudi Government. FIACONA has already contacted US Government officials and members of Congress and urged them to intervene. The Federation also plans to use all media outlets and have human rights organizations to act quickly on behalf of the captives. FIACONA reminds the global community to recall Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which clearly states that Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. The Universal Declaration of Human rights was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Saudi Arabia abstained from the vote but has been pressured since then to adopt human rights into the Kingdom. In recent months the Kingdom has tried to sugar coat its human rights practices to gain acceptance into the WTO. Rev. Bernard Malik the President of Fiacona " Saudi government should immediately release the arrested christians as an expression of the practice of higher ideals of Islam." FIACONA calls upon NGOs and local churches all around the nation to exercise their collective influence for the immediate release of christians in Saudi Arabia. If you are interested in joining our efforts please contact us at the address below. Together we shall make a difference and stop this tragic violation of human rights in one of the richest countries in the world.

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