Raif Badawi – Prisoner of Conscience
Raif Badawi was flogged in public 50 times in January 2015.
He has 950 lashes and nearly a decade in prison left to serve – simply for blogging about free speech in Saudi Arabia.
Just after Friday prayers on 9 January, Raif Badawi was led by Saudi officials out of a bus and into the middle of the square in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. A large crowd had gathered to see the flogging.
Raif stood in the middle of the crowd, handcuffed and shackled by his ankles, his face uncovered. A security officer approached Raif and began caning him across the back and legs, until he had been beaten 50 times. A witness told us it took just five minutes to cane Raif 50 times; the lashes were constant and quick.
On 21 January 2016, two days before he was due to be publicly lashed another 50 times in a Jeddah square, doctors deemed Raif too unwell to be flogged. The week before, the authorities had postponed his scheduled 50 lashes after a prison doctor advised that Raif was unfit to be lashed, and that the flogging should be postponed for a week on medical grounds.
Raif is not a criminal – he is a prisoner of conscience who called for free speech on his website. His treatment by authorities in Saudi Arabia has been nothing short of a vicious act of cruelty. Ask them to release Raif now.
Raif’s wife, Ensaf Haidar and their 3 young children managed to flee and settle in Quebec, Canada. From there Ensaf runs the Raif Badawi Foundation For Freedom of Speech.
I urge you to offer your support.