Saudi Arabia is to resume the flogging of Raif Badawi, the blogger whose first 50 lashes caused an international outcry, his wife has been told.
Ensaf Haidar, who is now living in exile in Canada with the couple’s children, said the same “informed source” who tipped her off to the flogging of her husband in January had now told her the punishment was about to resume.
Mrs Haidar, in a statement on the Raif Badawi Foundation website, said:
I was informed by an informed source, that the Saudi authorities have given the green light to the resumption of Raif Badawi’s flogging.
The informed source also said that the flogging will resume soon but will be administered inside the prison.
Mr Badawi, who ran a liberal discussion blog, was arrested in May 2012 and sentenced last year to ten years in jail, a 10-year travel ban, a ban on appearing on media outlets, and a fine of one million riyals, as well as the 1,000 lashes. The flogging, which was suspended after the first 50 of 1,000 lashes were administered – supposedly for health reasons – has not been resumed since.
The first 50 of the lashes were meted out in a public square in Jeddah in January, and prompted an Amnesty International campaign joined by over a million people worldwide, global protests and statements of concern from a number of governments.
Amnesty is urging the international community and in particular Saudi Arabia’s western allies to press the authorities to release Raif Badawi and dozens of other prisoners of conscience who remain unjustly imprisoned in the Kingdom’s jails. (Sign the petition here.)
The family have been at the forefront of a campaign, closely supported by Amnesty, to secure Mr Badawi’s release.
The campaign to free Mr Badawi will benefit from funds raised at the Slugger O’Toole BIG politics pub quiz, held with support from Queens University’s School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy and Stratagem, on Thursday 5 November in Belfast’s The Black Box. Tickets still available to purchase in advance.
I am the Northern Ireland Programme Director and Head of Nations and Regions at Amnesty International UK.
I’m on Twitter at @PatrickCorrigan