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article imageJailed Saudi blogger's wife pleads for international pressure

By Simon Crompton     Jan 18, 2015 in World
The wife of Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi, who has convicted of “insulting Islam” called on world leaders to pressure the Saudi government into releasing him in the wake of the government postponing his second set of 50 lashes due to medical reasons.
“I appreciate all the attention that Raif’s case has been getting,” Ensaf Haidar said from her home in Canada. “I hope that all the governments in the world will intensify their efforts to pressure the authorities to stop what they intend doing to my husband. I believe they can do it, if they speak directly to the government in Saudi.”
Badawi, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, a heavy fine and 600 lashes for blogging. The number of lashes was increased to 1,000 after an appeal. The lashes are to be administered 50 per week for 20 weeks. The first set of 50 was carried out, but the second set was postponed by Saudi Arabian authorities after a doctor judged that the injuries he suffered last week were not healed and that he would not be able to withstand more.
The United States Department of State has publically denounced the punishment. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in the daily press briefing on January 8, “The United States government calls on Saudi authorities to cancel this brutal punishment.”
On January 16, a group of Senators, both Democrat and Republican, sent a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia calling for an end to the punishment that Badawi is facing.
“At a time that the world is wrestling with and mourning violence committed in the name of religious intolerance, such an example of state-sanctioned violence against peaceful religious dialogue is highly troubling and helps legitimize the extremist view that violence is a justified response to the free exercise of speech and religion. As such, we urge the immediate halt to this barbaric punishment and the immediate release of Mr. Badawi,” the letter stated.
Haidar believes that the more leaders who put pressure on the Saudi government, the more likely it will be that Badawi would be allowed to leave Saudi Arabia and join her and their children in Canada.
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