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UPDATE: JUNE 7, 2015: Saudi Supreme Court upholds cruel and unjust sentence. Raif remains at risk of flogging as long as this sentence remains in place.
Authorities arrested Raif Badawi on 17 June 2012. They charged him with insulting Islam and creating the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website for social and political debate. Th charges related to articles Raif wrote criticizing religious figures.
Raif Badawi’s case bounced back and forth between courts until 7 May 2014.On that day, the Criminal Court pronounced a sentence of 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals After he serves a decade in jail, he is also forbidden to travel for the following decade and from participating in the media.
While international pressure appears to have brought a halt to the flogging after the first 50 of 1,000 lashes, Raif Badawi remains behind bars facing an uncertain future. By the end of April 2015 his case had been transferred from the Criminal Court back to the Supreme Court.
Since March 2011 the authorities have continued a relentless campaign of repression in the name of security. The authorities have cracked down on peaceful activists calling for reforms and on demonstrators protesting against human rights violations. Those who express dissent face arrest and imprisonment whether they are critics, bloggers, activists or academics. Raif Badawi is just one of many.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.