Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court is continuing to uphold the internationally condemned verdict against Raif Badawi, 31.
Badawi has been imprisoned since 2012 since having been originally sentenced to only seven years in prison and 600 lashes for breaking Saudi Arabia’s technology laws by insulting Islamic religious figures through a blog he had created. However, after an appeal, the court increased the punishment to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.
The beatings against Badawi began in January 2015 when he was lashed outside a mosque in Jiddah as a warning to others who think to criticize Islam within Saudi Arabia. Originally, the lashings had been scheduled to be administered over a 20 week period of time, with 50 lashes per week.
In response, Amnesty International has launched a global campaign to call for Badawi’s release as his punishment violates international human rights laws. Interestingly enough, the rest of the world has only asked Saudi authorities to rescind the punishment, but little has changed in the situation as Saudi Arabia maintains its independence and has little care for the pressures of the international community.
Thankfully, over a million people worldwide have responded to the situation and have not only signed Amnesty International’s petition to free Raif Badawi but have also turned to major cities to protest against governments who may be slow in reacting to the situation. To this day, weekly protest are being held in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Ottawa. All of this is very much appreciated by Raif’s wife, Ensaf Heidar who has been left to care for their three children while fighting for her husband’s freedom.
To join with Amnesty International to take action against Raif Badawi’s imprisonment, please sign the petition at http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/individuals-at-risk/raif-badawi