If you have been following the news then you may already be aware, but rather sadly Saudi Arabia has upheld Raif Badawi‘s 10 year sentence and 1,000 lashes for the ‘crime’ of enabling social debate online.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.
Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told news agency AFP, “this is a final decision that is irrevocable.”
The Guardian editorial also nails it all very well (This is a first class editorial) …
Mr Badawi’s sentence is a brutal exercise in public intimidation. He has challenged Saudi Arabia’s autocratic and religious state, and even though his arguments could not be more carefully and modestly expressed, to hold them at all is incompatible with the regime under which he lives. His offence was to start a website, the Saudi Free Liberals forum, that argued for secularism and free speech. He carefully avoided direct criticism of the Saudi royal family, but – like many Arab thinkers before him –he is convinced that a separation of faith and state is the best course if his country is to have a future of what he calls “modernisation and hope”. In an expression of his convictions posted five years ago, he wrote: “States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear.” For this belief he faces a punishment from a state that was one of the handful never to endorse the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that that document violates the precepts of Islam.
As this newspaper has argued before, Saudi Arabia ought to be treated as a global pariah. It is a source of a particular strain of jihadist poison, of fanatical preachers, and of young men, like the 9/11 hijackers, who threaten both the west and the whole Middle East by their readiness to fight, often in the cause of Wahhabist Islam. For the past month, a Saudi blockade has been imperilling thousands of innocent Yemenis, and aerial bombardment by Saudi jets is killing scores more. Yet the kingdom continues to be treated with honour by western powers. Britain buys Saudi oil and courts Saudi trade. Even free speech in the UK has been curtailed in order to avoid giving offence to so rich and powerful an ally. Of all the European powers, only Sweden has been prepared to jeopardise relations and its arms trade by taking a stand.
|Maajid Nawaz @MaajidNawaz 12 hours ago
It’s simply a measurable,quantifiable fact that we get more outraged by cartoons than by medieval barbarity in our religion’s name #FreeRaif
|رائف بدوي @raif_badawi 8 hours ago|
|رائف بدوي @raif_badawi 12 hours ago
My Kids They did not stop crying after hearing bad news today! what i can do i ask the world! #FreeRaif
|Ex-Muslims Forum @CEMB_forum
New campaign to petition #Google to dedicate a #Doodle to progressive blogger Raif Badawi http://skepchick.org/2015/06/petition-google-draw-a-freeraif-google-doodle/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Skepchick+%28Skepchick%29 …#FreeRaif via @skepchicks
One Final Thought
Saudi Arabia might indeed truly believe that they have safely condemned Raif Badawi and embrace the thought that we shall soon forget and move on … but we will not forget, and we will not let go.
They also do not grasp the new reality of social media, for by condemning Raif they have in effect actually condemned themselves in the eyes of the millions all around the world watching and listening.