Poetry readings on 14/1 for death-row poet Ashraf Fayadh

Sentenced by Saudi Arabia; appeal from Berlin

12 January, 19:52

    Ashraf Fayadh Ashraf Fayadh

     - NAPLES - Ten Italian cities will on Thursday be taking part in an initiative to support Ashraf Fayadh, a poet and artist sentenced to die by Saudi Arabia for renouncing Islam and spreading atheism.

    The cities are: Rome, Milan, Naples, La Spezia, Pescara, Bari, Sassari, Ravenna and Villacidro, in Sardinia. The international initiative was promoted as part of the Berlin International Literature Festival in December. Organizers launched an appeal to individuals, associations and organizations to engage in poetry readings and hold events to support Fayadh and freedom of expression.

    In Naples, Orientale University will hold public readings of Fayadh's works from 8:30 Thursday morning at the Palazzo del Mediterraneo.

    Of Palestinian origins, the poet on death row was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and has been detained for two years in the Abha prison. Fayadh - who a few years ago was part of the Edge of Arabia artists collective and who in 2013 was one of the curators of the Rhizoma exhibition at the Venice Biennale - was arrested in 2014 in the city of Abha by Saudi religious police on charges of apostasy and the spreading of atheism through his book 'Instructions Within' (Dar al-Farabi, Beirut, 2007). A Saudi court sentenced the poet in November 2015 to die by beheading. Fayadh, who has not in the entire two years been able to see a lawyer, has always denied the charges. In December, after the death sentence was handed down, he filed an appeal saying that the charges were false and that no proof had been presented. He also said that he was a practicing Muslim and that he had never renounced his faith. (ANSAmed).

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