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Raif Badawi was arrested in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) in June 2012On July 29, 2013 after he was convicted under Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Cybercrime Law of “founding a liberal website,” “adopting liberal thought” and for “insulting Islam”, he was sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years and three months in prison.

He is now facing 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals.

 

In December 2013, Raif Badawi, founder of the website “Saudi Arabian Liberals” which he formed to create an online liberal forum in Saudi Arabia, appealed to his initial sentence of 600 lashes and seven years and three months in prison to the District Court in Jeddah. In respond, in May 2014, Jeddah’s Criminal Court sentenced Badawi to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (approx. £170,000) on charges of “insulting Islam” and “founding a liberal website". The court also sentenced him to a 10-year travel ban and 10-year ban from participating in visual, electronic and written media, both to be applied following his release. Raif suffers from diabetes, is reported to be in poor health.

Two days ago, on 30th of October 2014, a source following Raif's case in the kingdom that asked to remain anonymous, informed me that Saudi interior ministry sanctioned implementation of verdict against Raif Badawi and sent it to prison administration for enforcement.

Badawi’s lawyer, Waleed Abu Al-Khair, who is a human rights activist was also arrested On 15th of April 2014 and in June 2014 was sentenced to 15 years in jail for charges including "undermining the regime and officials". He is one of a number of lawyers with interest in human rights protection who have recently faced charges in consequence of advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Raif won the 2014 One Humanity Award of PEN Canada and Ensaf Haidar, his wife, who lives in exile with their three children, received the award on his behalf. On being notified that her husband had been awarded the prize, she quoted a line from his Twitter feed: “We want life for those who wish death to us; and we want rationality for those who want ignorance for us.”

 

Ramin Forghani

01 Nov 2014

 

Jailed Saudi Blogger Receives the One Humanity Award

Saudi Arabia: Lawyers jailed for judiciary criticism

Saudi Arabia and its merciless judges

 

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