Dec 26 2013

Free Raif Badawi


Raif Badawi has already been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, and now he has been recommended to be be brought before a high court on a crime that carries the death penalty. All for having a remarkable resemblance to Tom Hiddleston.

No, wait, it’s for an equally trivial crime: he founded a blog network that is critical of political and religious figures, he disobeyed his father (he is 31 years old), and he does not believe in god. Ed Brayton better watch out.

One of his great crimes is that he once wrote about Valentine’s Day, a prohibited holiday in Saudi Arabia.

This is what theocracy takes us to. And Saudi Arabia is one of our allies? Shouldn’t we have better taste in friends?

Here’s a petition.


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  1. 1

    Shouldn’t we have better taste in friends?

    Of course we should. But we are roaring drunk on petroleum.

  2. 2
    Lynna, OM

    Yep, always a good plan to persecute the best and brightest. That way those best and brightest not already in jail will leave the country. This will hasten the country’s decline … which is the goal, right?

  3. 3

    PZ, clearly you and Ed need to stay away from Saudi Arabia.

  4. 4

    I think it was a mistake for the petition to include this “… because without freedom of speech, one can not counter the dangerous beliefs of extremist Islam that leads ultimately to terrorism and threatens the safety of all people around the world.”

    I think for the broadest application of this petition, it would have been more useful to just refer to the general nature of the human right to free speech and expression of ideas.

  5. 5
    Lynna, OM

    I agree with roxchix @#4. I’m reluctant to sign a petition that contains “dangerous beliefs of extremist Islam.” People define “dangerous beliefs” and “extremist Islam” differently. Think of Sarah Palin’s definition(s), for example.

    Someone needs to rewrite the petition text.

  6. 6

    Saudi Arabia is a harsher dictatorship with less freedom for minorities and women then both Iraq under Saddam and Iran, and yet it is an ‘ally’, while Iraq had to be freed, and now Iran according to some.

    Whenever some brainwashed rightwinger brings the ‘we have/had to bring freedom to the Iraqi people’ bullshit line, I always ask why we don’t/didn’t start with Saudi Arabia, because it is far worse there. Of course, no answer is ever forthcoming, because an answer to that question was never spoon-fed to them via the ‘liberal’ media.

  7. 7

    Can’t we make a deal with Saudi Arabia – they can ship us the apostates, and the US will take them? It seems this guy would be someone our country needs.

  8. 8

    @#7: With respect, I think actually Saudi Arabia needs him more… although they may not realize it.

    I really hope the petition is successful and I did sign it but I too felt it could have been worded better.

  9. 9
    Lithified Detritus

    600 lashes is essentially a sentence to death by torture. Had some problems with the petition site, though.

  10. 10

    Lithified Detritus,

    It is my understanding they aren’t administered in a row, but spaced out over a long period (say, 10 lashings a day, for 60 days). So no, not a death sentence. Doesn’t make it any less barbaric though.

  11. 11

    While we are at signing petitions, how about this one?
    His situation is similar to Badawi’s: incarceration and threat of death for free speech.

  12. 12
    David Marjanović

    While we are at signing petitions, how about this one?

    Do you have any more information on that case? Being a Christian isn’t a crime in Iran at all, yet that’s what the petition claims.

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