Not too far into the future

Raymond Johansen posted a translated transcript of an interview Ensaf Haidar did on NRK Debatt.

Dear Ensaf Haidar, here is your interview again and the following is a translation I hope do you justice. My arabic is limited so please do not feel offended. We tried our best. You are a strong woman and we wish you and your family the best of luck. You are right. Millions of people around the world stand right beside you and your husband Raif Badawi
Ensaf is asked if she knows how her husband is doing in prison at the moment

Ensaf: Raif’s situation is not good at this moment in time – healthwise or psychologically. His situation is not good at all. But that is normal considering his situation, based on all the uncertainty. To sum it up, his situation is not good at all.

Question: You reside in Canada right now with your three small children. Do you have any contact. Direct contact with your husband now?

Ensaf: Raif calls every now and then, but they are always short conversations.

Question: Your husband was sentenced to one thousand lashes for having championed free speech in SA. Were you surprised of this sentencing. How harsh it was?

Ensaf: Of course. I was very surprised and shocked. All he did was exercise his free speech. I never thought he would get such a violent punishment. It was and still is a shock.

Question: If the authorities in SA goes through, if they persist with the lashing. Do you fear that your husband might not survive it?

Ensaf: Of course. A man cannot take 50 lashes. Raifs body and mind will not be able to handle 50 lashes every week. It is simply torture, nothing more nothing less.

Question: Do you think the international outcry over this and the pressure against SA has in any way helped the situation?

Ensaf: I hope that it has helped. As for now everything is uncertain. But [the support] it has helped me. I feel like the whole world is standing right beside us. I am sure that the Raif cause will affect things in measurable ways. This far it is our family that suffers the consequences. Raif knows and feels that the whole world walks stands beside him.

[Editors note: in excess of a million people have signed a petition supporting him]

I hope that people will continue to fight for his release.

Question: In Norway there was quite a lot of debate when King Abdullah died, and a member of our Royal family went to a ceremony in SA. It was debated whether the Crown Prince of Norway should actually raise the issue of your husband with the authorities of SA. Do you think that would have helped?

Ensaf: Of course. When governments talk to each other, that is helpful. I hope they ask they ask the SA government to release Raif.

Question: Tell me about the culture gap here… Your own father in law said that he would gladly kill your husband if the authorities would not do it. How does remarks like that make you think? [Editors note: Must have meant to say “feel” – not “think”]

Ensaf: If Raif had done anything wrong and his father witnessed that…. If he had been a real father, he would not want to kill his own son, whatever he might have done.

Question: All over the world people are demonstrating in front of SA embassies every Friday – to help your husband. But what is your next step to help free him?

Ensaf: First I would like to thank each and every one standing in front of the embassies every week. As for the next step, I do not have a solution. I hope we find away to get him released right away. At this time, I do not know how to make that happen. But I do hope we find a solution. If someone have an idea that can get Raif released, I can only hope that they help us.

Question: Do you think the plight of your husband is also helping the world understand more of what’s going on human rights wise in SA?

Ensaf: That is self evident.

Question: And are you at present optimistic that at some point you will be reunited with your husband?

Ensaf: Of course! Of course! Of course! Not too far into the future.

Conclusion: Ensaf Haidar thank you very much for taking part in this interview!


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