Friday 22 November 2019

Saudi Arabia accuses western media of attacking its sovereignty

Amnesty International is supporting Raif Badawi
Amnesty International is supporting Raif Badawi
Ensaf Haidar, the wife of a Saudi rights activist, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes last year, said her husband's health had worsened after the first round of flogging and that he could not possibly survive the full punishment (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Chris Green

Saudi Arabia has responded to the international outcry over the treatment of jailed blogger Raif Badawi by accusing the western media of launching an unjustified attack on its sovereignty under the “pretext of human rights”.

In its first official statement on the case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would not allow outside interference with Saudi Arabia’s judicial system.

Mr Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – of which so far only 50 have been carried out – for using his liberal blog to criticise Saudi Arabia’s clerics.

Last month judges in the country’s criminal court want him to undergo a retrial for apostasy, which carries the death sentence.

“The Kingdom cannot believe and strongly disapproves what has been addressed in some media outlets about the case of Citizen [Badawi] and the judicial sentence he has received,” the statement read.

Read More: Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes may now face death penalty

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been one of the first States to promote and support human rights. Though these commitments are more than obvious, some international quarters and some media, regrettably, have emptied human rights of their sublime meanings,” it added.

“Instead, such quarters and media deviated towards politicising and abusing those rights to serve aggressions against the right of States to sovereignty. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will most certainly disallow such matter.”   

The Ministry also said the Saudi constitution “originates from the Islamic Sharia which enshrines one’s sacred rights to life, property, honour, and dignity”.

Under its interpretation of Sharia law, rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.

Read More: Saudi Arabia is to beheaded man for ripping up a Koran

Mr Badawi’s case has prompted protests across the world and has been raised by several governments.

Over the weekend Germany’s economic affairs minister and vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, became the latest diplomat to raise the subject with King Salman.

Ahead of a meeting with the Saudi monarch in Riyadh on Sunday, Mr Gabriel said: “The harshness of this sentence, especially the corporal punishment, is something unimaginable for us and of course it weighs on our relations.”

Independent News Service

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News