The wife of a Saudi rights activist, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes last year, said last night that her husband’s health had worsened after the first round of flogging and that he could not possibly survive the full punishment.
Raif Badawi, a blogger and founder of the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, received 50 lashes on Jan 9. The second round has twice been postponed on medical grounds.
“Raif’s health condition is bad and it’s getting worse and worse,” said Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who lives with her three children in Canada.
“I am very concerned about him. It is impossible for a human being to withstand 50 lashes every week,” she told a news conference in Ottawa, speaking through a translator.
Mr Badawi was arrested in June 2012 for offences including insulting Islam, cyber crime and disobeying his father, which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
He was sentenced last year to 10 years in jail, a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000) and the flogging. The United States and Amnesty International have urged Riyadh to cancel the lashing.