8 Senators protest the torture of Raif Badawi

Yes eight. You’d think it could be 100, wouldn’t you – unless the other 92 are afraid King Abdullah will write back to ask difficult questions about electrocutions and Eric Garner and the like?

Anyway eight did write.

Eight senior US senators have sent a letter to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, decrying the harsh sentence imposed on progressive Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes, which are to be carried out in installments of 50 lashes across 20 weeks.

Badawi received the first 50 lashes a week and a half ago, and was set to receive another 50 last Friday, however the punishment was postponed following a medical examination.

The senators, six Democrats and two Republicans, including Marco Rubio, who is considered by some to be a possible contender in the upcoming Republican primaries for the 2016 presidential elections, called the public floggings “barbaric” and noted that the harsh repression of political dissidents in the Gulf kingdom may put Saudi-US relations at stake.

“Any further violence or criminal proceedings against Saudi citizens exercising nonviolent freedoms of speech and religion will unfortunately be a source of continued divergence between our countries,” the letter said.

Good that they did, but the fact that it’s only eight makes it kind of…feeble.

Stupidly, the story doesn’t say who the other seven are.

The United States, Sweden, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have denounced the flogging as a horrific form of punishment, saying Badawi was exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Canada has also condemned the sentence and called for a pardon.

Tick tock, tick tock.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marco Rubio – teabagger, creationist, evolution-denier, corporate welfarist – did something right?!?

    I’ll be listening to hear Final Trumps all night long…

  2. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    So despite all the muttering about Muslim extremists, the only two Republican Senators that can be bothered to sign the letter are the two most likely to lose their seats, Rubio and Kirk.

    Nothing from McCain or Graham, probably because the letter didn’t suggest starting any wars. You might think that the whole Republican caucus would join in given the way they talk about ISIS. But I guess it is a lot easier to make cheap talk about an issue where your views are irrelevant than to take a stand that would be very likely to have effect. The rulers of Saudi Arabia realize their dependence on US military hardware.

  3. says


    The letter’s signatories were Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Marco Rubio, R-Flor.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Cali; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, Al Jazeera said.

  4. johnthedrunkard says

    ‘Saudi citizens exercising nonviolent freedoms of speech and religion ‘

    There is no such animal. ‘Citizenship’ and ‘freedom’ being unimaginable under the heel of Saud. The Prophet (PB&J) declared there to be ‘only one religion in the Hijaz,’ and the tradition is now honored through the whole of the Saudi Arabian ‘state.’

  5. moarscienceplz says

    Fox News says the senators are:

    Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Jeanne Shaheen, R-N.H.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif

    Of course if Fox News says the sky is blue I would recommend a second opinion, but I couldn’t find another one.

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