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May 09 2014

Badawi’s Oppressive Punishment Gets Worse

Raif Badawi, the atheist imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for blasphemy, has had his sentence made even worse than it already was. This comes only a few days after the Center for Inquiry held a protest at the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC.

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s authorities to quash the outrageous sentencing today of Raif Badawi in connection with an online forum for public debate he set up and accusations that he insulted Islam.
Raif Badawi, co-founder of the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (about US$266,631) by Jeddah’s Criminal Court.

“The decision to sentence Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes is outrageous. He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression. The authorities must overturn his conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“Raif Badawi is the latest victim to fall prey to the ruthless campaign to silence peaceful activists in Saudi Arabia. The authorities seem determined to crush all forms of dissent through every means at their disposal, including imposing harsh prison sentences and corporal punishment on activists.”

He was originally sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes, but that verdict was overturned and sent to another court for an even harsher punishment. I would hate to think that this was done in reaction to the protests on his behalf. That would be doubly tragic.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    laurentweppe

    He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.

    Which makes him a threat for the ruling dynasty.
    And since the Saudi state exists first and foremost to serve the interest of the House of Saud…

  2. 2
    sh3baproject

    and yet saudi arabia criticizes norway for its human rights record

    @1 correct.

  3. 3
    busterggi

    People who think and speak are even more dangerous than those who only think.

  4. 4
    Modusoperandi

    He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.

    You know the guy is guilty when even Amnesty International admits it.

  5. 5
    grumpyoldfart

    Saudi Arabia is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. I wonder how that happened.

  6. 6
    eric

    I would hate to think that this was done in reaction to the protests on his behalf. That would be doubly tragic.

    It would not surprise me in the least. IMO, authoritarian regimes tend not to really grok the freedom of the US press. They tend to think that any private sector US speech against them must really be covert government speech, controlled and manipulated by the administration…because in their countries, that’s what it actually is. So, they very naturally think that if they respond tit-for-tat by doing something the US goverment doesn’t like – withhold trade or expel some diplomat or put some activist in jail – the US government will back down. They don’t really understand that the US government can’t “back down” because they US govermment isn’t the one doing the speaking.

  7. 7
    David C Brayton

    I am enraged that the US and Saudi Arabia are allies.

  8. 8
    Modusoperandi

    David C Brayton, to be fair, Saudi Arabia does have a lot of oil.

  9. 9
    anubisprime

    Religion fails when folks question it…or even suggest it should be questioned.

    Every religious scam going are aware of that Achilles heel in their delusion…they all to a cult despise it!

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