ARTICLE 19 strongly condemns the recent flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi and calls on the Saudi authorities to cancel his punishment immediately.
Raif Badawi received 50 lashes on 9 January, part of a 1000 lash sentence for falling foul of Saudi Arabia’s draconian internet content laws after he criticised the country’s clerics on a liberal blog he founded. The blog has since been shut down.
Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, said:
“This is a cruel and inhumane punishment, issued against a man who chose simply to express his point of view. We believe this repulsive act of state violence will send a message that freedom of speech is not tolerated in Saudi Arabia.”
“This is especially disturbing as it comes so soon after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, which has highlighted to the world the need to respect freedom of expression.
“Perceived insults to religion should never be punished in this manner. We call on Saudi Arabia to end the repression of free speech in the name of religion and cancel Raif Badawi’s punishment immediately.”