Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi to be Lashed

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Saudi media Al-Hayat has announced that lashes for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi are scheduled to be administered within the next month. Raif, a liberal activist and founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals for insulting Islam and religious authorities. Raif’s website, created in 2006, was a platform for discussions on liberal ideas and interpretations of Islam. The online forum has been offline since his arrest in 2012.

Amnesty International is one of many human rights organizations campaigning for Raif’s release. Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International issued the following statement in May 2014:

“Raif Badawi is the latest victim to fall prey to the ruthless campaign to silence peaceful activists in Saudi Arabia. The authorities seem determined to crush all forms of dissent through every means at their disposal, including imposing harsh prison sentences and corporal punishment on activists.”

Center For Inquiry representative, Josephine Macintosh delivered a statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on June 23, 2014 that was critical of Saudi’s repeated assaults on freedom of religion, belief, and expression. She was interrupted three times by Saudi Arabia while addressing the UN.

Video from UN Human Rights Council June 23, 2014:

US Secretary of State John F. Kerry met last week with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss ISIL and agreed to partner with the US in expanded military operations combating the spread of extremists in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia also announced it will host training camps for moderate Syrian rebels as part of an international coalition to fight ISIL militants. Seems the US is willing to overlook the prosecution and brutal corporal punishment of Raif along with a lengthy list of other human rights abuses if it means partnering up with Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, to fight ISIL.

You can sign the petition demanding the release of Raif Badawi below:

change.org (15,640 supporters of 9,360 required)

You can follow hashtags #FreeRaif & #RaifBadawi for updates or follow Raif on Facebook and Twitter as his family is running his social media while he is in jail.

Sources:
Center for Inquiry
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
Al-Hayat
Washington Post
Haaretz
The Daily Beast

About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.