Although U.S. officials make the case that governments must permit independent civil society organizations, Saudi Kingdom's performance in this area has been dismal, and the U.S. has repeatedly failed to say or do anything about it.
The GCC includes some of Washington's most repressive allies, and Obama should use the visit -- his last opportunity as president to meet the monarchs face to face -- to raise a series of human rights concerns.
Riyadh, America's nominal ally, has demonstrated that it is the more reckless of the two states, by executing an important Shia cleric and severing diplomatic relations with Iran.
I was raised in a Muslim family, in the Muslim cultures of three different countries -- Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. I grew up mostly in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a US ally with almost unconditional Western support, living there for close to twelve years.
Raif Badawi was honored with the award as a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech.
Lawyers for the jailed human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al Khair tried to deliver a petition to the king.