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Saudi Arabia postpones flogging of blogger Raef Badawi: What's next?

BEIRUT |, with agencies - January 16, 2015, 15h58
Photo: Amnesty
Saudi Arabia has postponed this Friday’s flogging of blogger Raef Badawi on ‘medical grounds’ according to Reuters.
On January 11, as an official representative of Saudi Arabia was marching to support freedom of speech in Paris, the Kingdom had already launched the flogging of Raef Badawi : The Saudi blogger was sentenced to a punishment of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes given over a period of 20 weeks for purportedly insulting Islam.

Badawi received the first round of lashes amidst a global outcry against a punishment that has been described as a “vicious act of cruelty which is prohibited under international law” by Amnesty International.

The US and international rights groups have called on Saudi Arabia to cancel the punishment.

Saudi Arabia decided to postpone the planned 50 lashes for Raef Badawi on Friday January 16, on ‘medical grounds.  The Saudi authorities said he would not face his punishment, having not recovered fully from the first installment of lashings.

Amnesty International said in a statement that a medical examination showed that Badawi's earlier "wounds had not yet healed properly and that he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes at this time." And the doctor who carried out the examination recommended postponing the flogging.

The blogger has been in prison since 2012 under the grounds of ‘insulting Islam’ on his website "Free Saudi Liberals" (the website was closed). He was also charged with cybercrime and disobeying his father, which is considered a crime in Saudi Arabia.

The case has gained more global attention since the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper last Wednesday and the Saudi Arabian kingdom’s condemnation of said attack.
#Freedom_of_speech, #JesuisCharlie, #Charlie_Hebdo, #Press_freedom, #Human_rights, #Saudi_Arabia
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