Thursday 21 November 2019

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

Ensaf Haidar has called for the release of her husband Raif Badawi
Ensaf Haidar has called for the release of her husband Raif Badawi
Amnesty International is supporting Raif Badawi News Desk

Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes prompted international condemnation now faces the death penalty, says his wife.

Ensaf Haidar has spoken out after judges in Saudi Arabia seek to re-trial her husband for apostasy.

If found guilty, Mr Badawi would face a death sentence.

Ms Haidar said the “dangerous information” had come from “official sources” inside the conservative kingdom, where Mr Badawi has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – administered at a rate of 50 per week – for criticising the country’s clerics through his liberal blog.

In 2013, a judge threw out the charge of apostasy against the 31-year-old blogger after he assured the court that he was a Muslim.

The evidence against him had included the fact that he pressed the “Like” button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians.

The news that the charge may now be re-examined will come as a bitter blow to Mr Badawi’s family and supporters, who had hoped that the international pressure over his case would prompt Saudi Arabia to reduce his sentence. 

Although he remains in prison, he has only been flogged once since his sentence was passed, with subsequent punishments being repeatedly postponed.

Independent News Service

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