His only crime is being a free voice

Raif Badawy’s wife Ensaf Haidar writes about what Saudi Arabia is doing to her husband.

In May, his sentence was reduced to 10 years in prison, a fine of $100,000 and 1,000 lashes. He is to be lashed 50 times each Friday after prayers until it reaches 1,000 lashes.

Ra’if is not a criminal. He is not a murderer or a rapist. He is a blogger. That’s it. His only crime is being a free voice in a country that has no tolerance nor understanding for freedom.

He’s a blogger. I’m a blogger. I try to imagine being lashed 50 times to punish me for that. I try to imagine spending ten years in prison for that. I can’t.

Two years have passed since Ra’if was arrested and I still face a burning emptiness and a series of insomnia-inducing questions: When is he coming back? And in what state? Am I going to hug him? Kiss him? Will I cry?

These are our allies.

I arrived in Canada after escaping Saudi Arabia via Cairo and Beirut. We will settle here and attempt to have a normal life, but always await Ra’if’s return.

I am unable to thank every person who supported me and Ra’if. Amnesty International especially spared no effort to advocate for my husband’s release. I also must thank Ra’if, who taught me how to endure the impossible, stay strong and fight tirelessly to get him back.

Perhaps he won’t return soon, but I will get him back some day. He promised me that he would come back no matter what. Ra’if should be free, filling the world with happiness, love and his fighting spirit.

The government of Saudi Arabia is evil.



  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    “The government of Saudi Arabia is evil.”

    Well, yes, but they have oil that we need. Can’t be too harsh on them, ya know.

  2. quixote says

    It’s good she got out! At least she can speak. I wonder if the US explained at the highest levels that Ra’if should be released, whether he couldn’t be on a plane to Canada tomorrow. If Saudi Arabia was the only evil government, they wouldn’t last long.

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