Rabat- Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has upheld a 10-year in jail and 1,000 lashes sentence against jailed blogger Raif Badawi on charges of insulting Islam, according to Amnesty International.
Rabat- Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld a 10-year in jail and 1,000 lashes sentence against jailed blogger Raif Badawi on charges of insulting Islam, according to Amnesty International.
The sentence has caused uproar worldwide with human rights group Amnesty International describing it as a “dark day for freedom of expression.”
Ensaf Haidar, Badawi’s wife who, along with their three children, have received asylum in Quebec, in Canada, told Al Jazeera that his family were “shocked by the decision.”
“We had had some hope before that maybe he would get his sentence reduced,” she said. “I am very sad about this and very worried for Raif.”
She expressed fear that the implementation of the flogging sentence “might resume very soon”.
“I was optimistic that the advent of Ramadan and the arrival of a new king would bring a pardon for the prisoners of conscience, including my husband,” she told AFP.
Badawi co-founded the Saudi Liberal Network Internet discussion group. He was arrested in 2012 in Jeddah, and later sentenced to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam. A judge also ordered the website shut after it criticized Saudi Arabia’s religious police.
An appeals court later upturned the verdict and ordered a retrial. In May 2014, the court sentenced Badawi to 10 years imprisonment, 1,000 lashes and to pay a $266,000 fine.
Badawi received the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes he was sentenced. Saudi authorities later postponed Subsequent rounds of public lashings on medical grounds, according to Amnesty.
Amnesty International condemned the “abhorrent” decision to uphold the “cruel and unjust sentence.”
“Blogging is not a crime and Raif Badawi is being punished merely for daring to exercise his right to freedom of expression,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.
Saudi Arabia denounced the media campaign against the ruling, saying that “it does not accept any form of interference in its internal affairs and rejects (…) the attack on the independence of its justice system.”
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