Saudi ambassador to Germany is saying Raif won’t be flogged again

International Business Times has an exciting story dated a few hours ago…but sadly it seems to be based on a misreading of a Facebook post, so not so exciting after all. Ludovica Laccino reports that a Saudi official has said Raif won’t be flogged any more.

Saudi Arabian activist blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for advocating free speech, may not have to serve the full decade in prison.

Badawi family’s spokesperson, Dr Elham Manea, who is also an associate professor specialising in the Middle East at University of Zurich, said on Facebook that the news was delivered by a Saudi ambassador in Germany.

She wrote: “Saudi ambassador in Germany informed NDR-TV that flogging will not continue and‪#‎RaifBadawi‬ maybe not have to serve the whole time in prison.”

Fantastic – but if you follow the link to Facebook, you find that Elham didn’t say that; the link is to a post that someone else wrote. The post is in German, with an automated translation below –

Noch mit Vorsicht zu genießen, es gibt noch keine offizielle Bestätigung. BBC meldet gleichzeitig den Tod von König Abdullah. Der Botschafter Saudi-Arabiens in Deutschland soll gesagt haben: “Die Bestrafung von Herrn Raif Badawi wurde, wie ich verstanden habe, gestoppt. Er wird keine Peitschenhiebe mehr erhalten. Ich nehme an, dass Herr Badawi, nachdem die Auspeitschung gestoppt wurde, nicht zehn Jahre in Haft bleiben wird.”
Elham ManeaJérôme SegalEnsaf Haidar

Even with caution to enjoy, there is still no official confirmation. At the same time, BBC reports the death of King Abdullah. The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Germany is supposed to have said: “the punishment of Mr Raif Badawi was, as I understand it, stopped. He will receive no more lashes. I suppose that, after the whipping stopped, Mr Badawi will remain not ten years in prison.”
Elham ManeaJérôme SegalEnsaf Haidar

Followed by a link and headline and extract –

Prügelstrafe für saudischen Blogger offenbar gestoppt

Laut der saudi-arabischen Botschaft in Berlin soll der Blogger Raif Badawi offenbar keine Peitschenhiebe mehr erhalten. Außerdem könne auch die Haftstrafe verkürzt werden.

Google translate gives me –

Flogging for Saudi blogger apparently stopped

According to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Berlin blogger Raif Badawi is apparently no longer to receive lashes. In addition, the sentence could be shortened.

The source is, which is Norddeutscher Rundfunk, about which Wikipedia tells us –

Norddeutscher Rundfunk is a public radio and television broadcaster, based in Hamburg. In addition to the city-state of Hamburg, NDR transmits for the German states of Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein.

So, that sounds like a reliable source.

But why is it only the ambassador to Germany who is saying this?

I don’t know, but at least he is apparently saying it.


  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I hope this isn’t a case of “hey, look over there, nothing to see here.” and hoping that the public will forget in a few weeks, and they can get back to their barbaric torture.

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