Saudi blogger Raif Badawi - Official Website - BenjaminMadeira
No fear - freedom of speech - Photo: illustration

A look at the writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes.



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Saudi Arabian writer and activist, Raif Badawi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes will be publicly flogged once a week for 20 weeks after Friday prayers outside a mosque in the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah (Jeddah) for setting up the website Free Saudi Liberals that championed free speech in the autocratic kingdom. His blog, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum, was shut down after his arrest in 2012.

In the first weeks of the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, Badawi hailed the drama in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as an example to the whole Arab world. The Saudi government, by contrast, was horrified by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and delighted when Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood veteran elected to succeed him, was ousted:

It is a revolution, led by students and the marginalized, a revolution in every sense of the word ... that is ... a decisive turning point ... not only in the history and geography of Egypt but everywhere that is governed by the Arab mentality of dictatorship and security. It is not yet clear whether Egypt is about to change, but it is our hope that a new Egypt will emerge from the painful birth pangs its people are experiencing ... after years of subservience and oppression.



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