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Blogger Raif Badawi publicly flogged

Blogger Raif Badawi publicly flogged

Despite international pressure on Saudi Arabia not to inflict a barbaric punishment on Badawi, who was found guilty of insulting Islam, the authorities  inflicted the first batch of 1,ooo lashings today in front of the al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah.

Amnesty International confirmed to the Independent that Badawi received the first round of 50 lashes after Friday prayers. The floggings will continue every Friday  over the next 19 weeks.

A witness told the human rights organisation that Badawi was removed from a bus in shackles and taken to a public square in front the mosque. He was then flogged in front of a crowd and security guards for 15 minutes, before being put back on the bus and driven away.

Amnesty says Badawi, who started the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, was arrested in June 2012  for creating an online forum for public debate and over accusations that he insulted Islam. His website has also been shut down.

Badawi was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial – which then earned him a more severe sentence of 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had earlier joined world-wide calls for the inhumane punishment not to be carried out and said the US was “greatly concerned” by reports of the inhumane punishment.

Ms Paski said:

The United States government calls on Saudi authorities to cancel this brutal punishment and to review Badawi’s case and sentence.

Badawi’s lawyer, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair, has also been jailed for 15 years after being charged with “undermining the regime and officials”, “inciting public opinion” and “insulting the judiciary”.

Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, condemned the flogging as a:

Vicious act of cruelty prohibited under international law.  By ignoring international calls to cancel the flogging Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated an abhorrent disregard for the most basic human rights principles.

He added:

It is appalling that 19 weeks of flogging await Raif Badawi over the coming months. Saudi Arabia’s authorities must act immediately to halt all further floggings.

10 responses to “Blogger Raif Badawi publicly flogged”

  1. barriejohn says:

    This only demonstrates to the civilized world just how backward and barbaric Saudi Arabia really is. Raif Badawi gained another humanitarian award recently:

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/saudi-dissident-wins-award-commemorating-last-scots-blasphemer-to-be-executed.115724170

  2. AgentCormac says:

    This is a state that hasn’t moved on beyond the Iron Age. All things being equal it should be condemned and isolated by our Western governments in precisely the same way North Korea has been. But it won’t happen. Why? Oil. Simple as.

  3. Dan says:

    Not quite as simple as that. The US will be self-sufficient in oil in a few years. What they’re enjoying at the moment is the Saudi oil price war, which is helping destroy the Russian economy, but in the long run dependency on the Saudis just won’t be a thing.

  4. JohnMWhite says:

    Now, now, let’s not be too judgmental here. Both sides do it, after all. We all have our extremists. Think of all the secular governments that flog people for saying climate change is a myth.

    … wait…

  5. Newspaniard says:

    The UK government treat these barbarians like royalty because some of the money they don’t spend on terrorist activities and child indoctrination, they use to “support” our aircraft industry.

  6. Lon says:

    Prayers and floggings. Floggings and prayers. All religion is stupid and a danger to the survival of humanity.

  7. Broga says:

    I felt myself freeze as I read this. Week after week. The horror, the horror.

    Isn’t Charles Windsor a big friend of the Saudis? Couldn’t our Prince of all faiths put in a word?

  8. barriejohn says:

    I think that the attention of our own Royal Family is presently firmly focussed upon ensuring that Prince Andrew successfully escapes child prostitution charges!

  9. Rob Andrews says:

    Signs at the Saudi Arabian border:

    Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Set your watches back 1300 years.
    Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1300 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.

    No god; no bible; no sin; no hell; NO PROBLEM!

  10. Stephen Turner says:

    So this must be “true Islam”, have I got that right? It’s certainly consistent with Choudary’s ideas on free expression.