In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, the Saudi government sentenced 31-year old Saudi Arabian writer and blogger Raif Badawi with 1000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment.
The flogging will occur every Friday for five months in accordance to Saudi law.
According to The Independent, Saudi officials arrested and brought Badawi to court in 2012 for “insulting Islam and showing disobedience.” He reportedly instigated this punishment after creating Free Saudi Liberals, a website which encouraged public discourse about religion in Saudi Arabia.
The blogger and father of three was publicly flogged after Friday prayers last week, reports Australia’s News.com, enduring 50 lashes outside of the al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah.
One witness told Amnesty International that Badawi was flogged on his back and legs for at least five minutes.
“A security officer approached him from behind with a huge cane and started beating him,” the witness said. “Raif raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arching his back. He was silent, but you could tell from his face and his body that he was in real pain.”
Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, expressed her fears that her husband cannot physically endure another round of lashings to Amnesty International.
“Raif told me he is in a lot of pain after his flogging, his health is poor and I’m certain he will not be able to cope with another round of lashes,” she told the human rights organization.
Despite horrors that their family must face, she believes that they must persist in order to free her husband.
“International pressure is crucial. I believe if we keep up the support it will eventually pay off. We must keep fighting.”
In response to the blogger’s sentencing and punishment, human rights organizations all over the world have appealed to the Saudi government to stop the punishment.
Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and NOrth Africa Program, criticized Saudi Arabia following the flogging saying, “If authorities ignore widespread criticism and unashamedly continue with the flogging of Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia would be demonstrating contempt for international law and disregard for world opinion”.
“Flogging and other forms of corporal judicial punishment violate the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. By continuing to dole out this inhuman punishment the Saudi Arabian authorities are flagrantly flouting basic human rights principles.”