Saudi Arabia: FREE RAIF BADAWI
10 YEARS AND 1000 LASHES FOR BLOGGING!
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. On June 7th, the Supreme Court upheld the cruel and unjust sentence of 950 more lashes, and 10 year prison sentence. As long as that sentence is upheld, Raif Badawi faces the weekly ordeal of wondering whether the flogging will resume.
Since March 2011 the authorities have continued a relentless campaign of repression in the name of security. The authorities have cracked down on peaceful activists calling for reforms and on demonstrators protesting against human rights violations. Those who express dissent face arrest and imprisonment whether they are critics, bloggers, activists or academics. Raif Badawi is just one of many.
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.