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US ally Saudi Arabia: 10 years and 1000 lashes for blogging

George W Bush and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

 From Amnesty International Oct 2014

Paraskevi Kokoni

Badawi

How much does it cost to run a website where people can discuss political and social ideas? It cost Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia nearly two years in detention, a ten-year prison sentence, a large fine, the promise of a thousand lashes.

Raif is being punished for founding the website ‘Saudi Arabian Liberals’ – a blog and a forum for discussion. He won’t be running another website when he is eventually freed if Saudi authorities have their way – he’s been banned from using online media indefinitely. He is also prevented from leaving the country for a decade.

Awaiting 50 lashes every fortnight

Right now, Raif is in a cell in a Jeddah prison, six months into his ten-year jail sentence. He is awaiting the first of his floggings. The thousand lashes are due to be dealt to him in batches of fifty, every other Friday, in a public square.

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