I heard “you are Charlie”. Are you Raif too?

Raif Badawi was flogged in public 50 times last January. He has 950 lashes and nearly a decade in prison left to serve – simply for blogging about free speech. Just after Friday prayers, he was led by Saudi officials out of a bus and into the middle of the square in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. A large crowd had gathered to see the flogging. Badawi stood in the middle of the crowd, handcuffed and shackled by his ankles, his face uncovered. A security officer approached him and began caning him across the back and legs, until he had been beaten 50 times. A witness told us it took just five minutes to cane Badawi 50 times; the lashes were constant and quick.

Later on January, two days before he was due to be publicly lashed another 50 times in a Jeddah square, doctors deemed Raif too unwell to be flogged. The week before, the authorities had postponed his scheduled 50 lashes after a prison doctor advised that Raif was unfit to be lashed, and that the flogging should be postponed for a week on medical grounds. Badawi is not a criminal – he is a prisoner of conscience who called for free speech on his website. His treatment by authorities in Saudi Arabia has been nothing short of a vicious act of cruelty. Check out below the various options offered (especially the Amnesty International campaign) and ask them to release Raif Badawi now.

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