vendredi 9 mai 2014


Saudis Up Sentence of Liberal Editor to 10 Yr. Jail, 1,000 Lashes

Thu, May 8, 2014

Raif Badawi
Raif Badawi

The editor of an internet forum dedicated to discussing the role of religion in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced by a Saudi court to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of one million riyals ($266,600).


A 7 años y 600 azotes es condenado un activista por criticar las políticas en Arabia Saudita

Julio 30, 2013


Un tribunal de Arabia Saudita condenó el lunes a Raif Badawi, activista pro derechos civiles, a 7 años de prisión y 600 azotes por haber criticado en Internet las políticas de Riad referentes a los derechos de los ciudadanos.

Amnistía Internacional considera a Badawi prisionero de conciencia, ya que, argumenta, está detenido solo por haber hecho uso pacífico de su derecho a la libre expresión.

Esta sentencia se produjo el mismo día en el que los habitantes de la capital saudita celebraron una manifestación para expresar su solidaridad con los presos políticos y pidieron su inmediata liberación. Según varias entidades pro derechos humanos, más de 30.000 personas están encarceladas en Arabia Saudita por motivos políticos.

As Clarion Project reported, Raif Badawi was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for insulting Islam and violating the Kingdom’s anti-cybercrime law. 

However, last July, an appeals court threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial.
Lawyers for the prosecution had asked for a more severe penalty.

In his original trial, Badawi, the online editor of the “Free Saudi Liberals” forum was also found guilty of “parental disobedience” (a crime in Saudi Arabia) in connection to numerous arguments he had had with his father. 

Badawi had left the country in 2008 after the initial charges of insulting Islam were filed against him.  

After being told that the charges were dropped, he returned
...only to be barred from leaving the country again. 

His business assets were also frozen at the time.

Charges of apostasy – a crime in the Kingdom that carries the death penalty – that were pending against Badawi were dropped last July after Badawi testified in court that he is a Muslim.

Badawi founded the online platform in 2008 “to encourage debate on religious and political matters in Saudi Arabia,” according to Human Rights Watch

 The group also said that the judge affirmed that “liberalism is akin to unbelief.”

At his  hearing last year, the judge prevented Badawi’s lawyer from representing him.


Middle East ally: David Cameron receives a, honour from King Abdullah. Human Rights Watch says Saudi Arabia, a staunch ally of the West in the Middle East, has a long history of suppressing free expression
Middle East ally: David Cameron receives a, honour from King Abdullah.


Saudi Court Condemns Editor to 600 Lashes With Breaks

Photographer: Ensaf Haidar via Bloomberg
Raif Badawi, top, with his three children, son Tirad, 9, clockwise from left, daughter... Read More
A Jeddah criminal court judge has sentenced Saudi Arabian journalist Raif Badawi to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for the crime of “insulting Islam.” 

It could have gone worse for Badawi: Had the judge not thrown out the charge of apostasy, he would have received a death sentence. 

He’ll probably survive the whipping only because it comes in four sessions with planned hospitalizations in between. 

He has until Sept. 6 to file an appeal. 

Badawi, 30, is the co-founder and editor of the website, which encouraged people to post their thoughts about the role of religion and politics, among other things, in their lives. (No longer, however: The site has been shut down.) 

He was arrested on June 17, 2012, and sent to Jeddah’s Buraiman prison. The conviction and sentence were announced two weeks ago. 

Since being jailed, Badawi hasn’t seen his wife and three children, who are living in exile in Lebanon.
“He’s extremely depressed at the judgment,” Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told me in an interview last week. “Based on things the judge was saying in court, Raif really thought he might be released.”

Horse Whip

Can any human being survive 600 lashes? 
I asked Waleed Abu al-Khair, a Saudi Arabian human-rights lawyer who is handling Badawi’s case, to tell me about this particular form of punishment.

Source: Amnesty International via Bloomberg
A screenshot of Amnesty International's web coverage on Raif Badawi. Amnesty... Read More
“The lash is like a horse whip,” he said during a telephone interview from Jeddah. 
“You stand with your face to the wall. 
They lash his back from top to legs. 
150 lashes are given at a time. Then he will need to go to the hospital.” 

Badawi was given five years for “insulting Islam.” Two more are for insulting both Islam and Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. 

According to the global watchdog group Human Rights Watch, a popular cleric, Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Barrak, called for Badawi to be charged with apostasy for allegedly saying that “Muslims, Jews, Christians and atheists are all equal.”

Parental Disobedience

The judge, Faris al-Harbi, tacked an additional three months onto the sentence, al-Khair told me, for “parental disobedience.” Badawi’s father, he says, went on TV to condemn his son’s statements and the website. 

Badawi has repeatedly claimed that he never attacked Islam and that he only sought to provide a forum for open debate. He even convinced al-Harbi of his own faith, which led to the dismissal of the apostasy charge. 

Nevertheless, Al-Khair is pessimistic about the prospects for an appeal.
“We don’t believe they will change,” he said. “We hope they will look at the pressure from the outside regarding dialogue among religions.
“To be honest with you,” he continued, “the majority of people here believe he should be punished for being a liberal.” 

The lawyer knows something about this: His wife, who is Badawi’s sister, spent seven months in a Saudi prison. Her crime: “Parental disobedience” that included advocating for the right of women to drive. 

Al-Khair said that he fears he too will be arrested for his role in the Badawi case. 

How is Raif doing since the conviction? I asked.
“He is just afraid,” al-Khair replied. 
“He said, ‘I just care about my family, that no one will hurt them.’”

Broader Crackdown

Ensaf Haidar spoke to me from Beirut, where she is living with Najwa, 10; Tirad, 9; and Miriam, who is 6. She answered my questions through an interpreter, Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, one of several organizations that has turned a spotlight on free-speech cases in Saudi Arabia. 

Coogle called Raif Badawi’s arrest and conviction “part of a much larger crackdown on free speech in Saudi Arabia.” 

I asked Ensaf how she thinks her husband is doing. She was slightly more optimistic than al-Khair. “He’s pretty resilient,” she said. “The Saudis would love him to apologize and show him mercy. But he stands by his beliefs. He won’t back down.” 

(Jeremy Gerard reports on human-rights issues for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.) 


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