Saudi blogger Raif Badawi likely to be given more lashes in prison
Book cover of Raif Badawai's book where he shares his thoughts on politics, religion, and liberalism online. (Image courtesy: Amnesty International) Photograph: (Others)
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced for 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes in 2014 on charge of insulting Islam through electronic channels, may face new round of lashes, a co-founder of a Canadian foundation advocating his release said on Tuesday, reported Reuters.
Evelyne Abitbol, who founded the Raif Badawi Foundation with Badawi's wife, has claimed that a "reliable source" in Saudi Arabia said that the imprisoned Saudi blogger may face a new flogging.
Badawi's public flogging last year triggered a global outcry, the international news agency reported. Reuters, however, pointed out that Saudi embassy officials in Ottawa and Saudi government officials in Riyadh were not immediately available for comment.
"Unfortunately, it could happen at any time, if it happens," Abitbol told Reuters on phone in Montreal adding that the he could not name the source but it was the same person who alerted Badawi`s wife, Ensaf Haidar, in 2015 before he received his first 50 lashes, the only part of the flogging that was reportedly administered.
"We are trying to have the most accurate information possible, because if this information is true, it would be shameful. Canada completely condemns this type of lashing," Canada`s foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Badawi, the Saudi Arabian writer and activist and the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by European Parliament last December. 'Courage Award 2015 from the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy', 'Aikenhead Award 2015 of Scottish Secular Society' , 'Netizen Prize of Reporters without Borders 2014', are among the other awards he has been awarded.
He has also penned a book, 1000 Lashes, Because I Say What I Think, where he talks about the shocking sentence, human and civil rights, tolerance and the necessary separation of state and religion.
Several rights groups including Amnesty International have voiced concern over the severe punishment and have been raising voice for his release.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)