Saudi Student and Blogger Raif Badawi Given More Lashes in Prison
Updated: Mar 12, 2022
The Raif Badawi Foundation said in a statement that it has received confirmation that Badawi is to be given more lashes in prison. This information came from the same source that notified Badawi's family and associates about the first set of 50 lashes, which were served on January 9, 2015.
According to Human Rights Watch, Raif Badawi, 32, is among a group of peaceful critics that Saudi Arabia has attempted to silence in response to a wave of online activism in recent years. Badawi cofounded the website “Saudi Liberal Network,” an online platform that encourages debate on political and religious issues. Authorities arrested Badawi in June 2012 over comments made on the website and on social media. On July 29, 2013, the Jeddah Criminal Court sentenced him to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for insulting Islam and violating provisions of the kingdom’s 2007 anticybercrime law.
On May 7, 2014, an appeals court increased Badawi’s sentence to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes and fined him one million Saudi Riyals ($US 266,000). Saudi authorities carried out a flogging session on January 9, 2015 in front of a crowded mosque in Jeddah. On June 6, 2015, the Supreme Court upheld Badawi’s 10-year prison sentence. Badawi was the European Parliament's 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in October 2015
In contrast to the first round of punishment, which was performed in a public place, the next lashing is reportedly due to be carried out inside prison. Following injuries from his first flogging, Badawi's remaining 950 lashes had to be postponed until now.
The foundation said it called on the Saudi government and royal family to intervene and stop the punishment. It also asked the government to pardon Badawi and to deprive him of his Saudi citizenship so he could be reunited with his family, who reside in Canada where they were granted asylum.
The announcement of the lashings comes ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair, where the Raif Badawi Foundation is expected to give a journalism award to a radio station based in Northern Iraq. NWE Radio for Refugees has been hailed for its efforts to broadcast news with information in three languages for internally displaced Iraqis fleeing from the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) movement.
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