Saudi Arabia: FREE RAIF BADAWI
10 YEARS AND 1000 LASHES FOR BLOGGING!
Three years after Raif
Badawi received the first 50 lashes on January 9, 2015, the threat of renewed
punishment remains. Raif Badawi should be in Canada, with his wife and their three children. Instead he is spending time in Briman prison, Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia. Amnesty is calling for is immediate and unconditional release
THANK YOU TO OVER 1,000,000 AMNESTY SUPPORTERS WORLDWIDE WHO HAVE DEMANDED RAIF'S RELEASE!
Authorities arrested Raif Badawi (pronounced Ra-eef Ba-da-wee) on 17 June 2012. They charged him with insulting Islam and creating the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website for social and political debate. The charges related to articles Raif wrote criticizing religious figures.
Raif Badawi’s case bounced back and forth between courts until 7 May 2014. On that day, the Criminal Court pronounced a sentence of 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals (about $290,000 CDN). After he serves a decade in jail, he is also forbidden to travel for the following decade and from participating in the media.
While international pressure appears to have brought a halt to the flogging after the first 50 of 1,000 lashes in January 2015, Raif Badawi remains behind bars facing an uncertain future. By the end of April his case had been transferred from the Criminal Court back to the Supreme Court.
Raif Badawi isn’t the only person in Saudi Arabia detained for simply exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Amnesty International is extremely concerned about the intensified crackdown on freedom of expression in the country. The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to put human rights defenders on trial on charges related to their peaceful activism, including Essam Koshak and Issa al-Nukhaifi who currently face trial at the specialized Criminal court in Riyadh. In September 2017, Abdulaziz al-Shubaily and Issa al-Hamid, both founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) who were on trumped up terror-related charges, convicted were arrested to start serving their sentences. They are now serving prison sentences of eight and 11 years in prison respectively.
Everyone has the right to peacefully express their beliefs and opinions. No one should be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for any reason. Amnesty International believes Raif Badawi is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
We call on your government to:
Drop all charges against Raif Badawi, and release him without delay or conditions on his freedom.
Until he is free, please ensure that Raif Badawi is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, including his sentence of flogging.