When the cane strikes

A report commissioned by Amnesty International says – entirely unsurprisingly – that further lashes to Raif Badawi would cause permanent damage. Ludovica Iaccino gives the details.

Now, a medical expert from from the charity Freedom from Torture has warned in a report commissioned by Amnesty International that more lashes are likely to cause permanent damage.

Dr Juliet Cohen, head of doctors at Freedom from Torture, explained: “When the cane strikes, the blood is forced from the tissues beneath… Damage to the small blood vessels and individual cells causes leakage of blood and tissue fluid into the skin and underlying tissue, increasing the tension in these areas. [Read more…]

Raif’s dream

Ensaf Haidar tells us that Raif is all emotional about the Independent’s campaign for him.

Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has led to an international outcry, is mentally “very strong” and taking great heart from the campaign to free him, his wife has told The Independent.

In an email exchange, Ensaf Haidar said she remains hopeful that her husband will be released soon, despite being sentenced to 10 years in prison and 50 lashes a week for 20 weeks for criticising the country’s clerics through his liberal blog. He is still recovering from his first round of flogging.

[Read more…]

What Amnesty actually said

Hm. We have a discrepancy in what people are saying about Raif. As I posted a few hours ago, Amnesty says the doctors have said he shouldn’t be flogged again, but they also said

Raif Badawi is still at risk, there is no way of knowing whether the Saudi Arabian authorities will disregard the medical advice and allow the flogging to go ahead.

But the BBC is reporting that as Amnesty saying “Saudi Arabia has postponed the flogging” – which is inaccurate. Did the Beeb just misread it?

They go on –

Amnesty said the decision was made after doctors advised against this week’s 50 lashes on health grounds.

But Amnesty didn’t say that. They said the opposite, and I’m not seeing any update on their site.


She will greet him at the Montreal airport

The Guardian talks to Ensaf Haider.

A few days before his birthday, the liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi received 50 lashes in front of a mosque in Jeddah, his hometown. Thousands of miles away, in her modest basement flat in Québec, his wife decided to avenge his cruel treatment with a birthday party. She put a piece of cake aside to be frozen for him, just in case.

“I feel destroyed. But I don’t want to sit in a corner and cry,” says Ensaf Haidar softly, sitting on her eldest daughter’s bed. “That would be letting Raif and my children down.”

I so badly want him to get to eat that piece of cake…before it gets freezer burn. [Read more…]