Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Stop the renewed flogging of Raif Badawi!

Raif Badawi cropped.jpg

The Independent reports today:

The wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi said she has been told the flogging of her husband is due to be resumed soon.

Ensaf Haidar said in a statement she was told by a source that the “Saudi authorities have given the green light to the resumption of Raif Badawi’s flogging”.

Campaigners have written to the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond requesting he intervenes:

We are extremely concerned by the statement issued by the Raif Badawi Foundation on behalf of Mr Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar yesterday, 27 October. According to the statement, Ms Haidar received information from an ‘informed source’ that the Saudi Arabian authorities plan to resume flogging her husband. This information appears to have come from the same source that correctly informed her of the first flogging in January 2015.

As you are aware, Raif Badawi is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in Saudi Arabia in violation of his right to freedom of expression. Mr Badawi was also sentenced to 1000 lashes: the first 50 of these were administered on 9 January 2015. According to our information, he was due to receive 50 lashes each week for a further 19 weeks.

Ms Haidar understands that her husband’s case is under review by the Supreme Court. If the Foreign Office has any further information on the progress of Raif Badawi’s case, we would strongly urge you to share this with his wife and children, and with the general public.

Of further concern is the news that the Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence against Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Sheik Nimr al-Nimr’s nephew Ali al-Nimr is also among those sentenced to death for his involvement in anti-government protests. An urgent protest calling for the release of both men and others facing the death sentence was held outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia London today, Wednesday 28 October.

Earlier this month, we warmly welcomed the news that the government had cancelled their bid to sell prison training services to the Saudi government. We hope that the government will take an equally strong position on the concerns outlined in this letter, and use your influence to urge Saudi Arabia to put an end to human rights abuses domestically and to its complicity with human rights abuses in the region.

Given the underhanded role that the Cameron Government played in helping Saudi Arabia onto the laughably named United Nations "Human Rights" Council, that's the least Hammond should do.

Saudi Arabia, like the vast majority of members of this misused body are abusers of human rights not supporters.

Meanwhile please write to your MP, raise this issue in your trade unions, political parties and wherever you can to campaign to get this man freed and the punishment stopped now.

Remember his crime was Free Speech.

Without freedom of speech there will be no human rights.

Free Raif Badawi Now!

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