Free online activist Raif Badawi
Update 13/05/16: On 17 June it will be four years since Raif was detained. He has been languishing in prison ever since. Don't let the authorities in Saudi Arabia think the world has forgotten about Raif. Please keep taking action.
Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years jail, a $300,000 fine and 1,000 lashes after starting a website for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia.
Raif received his first 50 lashes in public on 9 January this year, and was scheduled to be flogged each Friday. Medical advice stopped the floggings for the next two weeks and Raif continues to be spared without any reason given.
On release, Raif faces a 10-year travel ban – which would keep him from his wife and three young children in Canada.
When Raif’s trial began in 2012, the prosecution unsuccessfully called for him to be tried for apostasy (when a person abandons their religion), which carries a death sentence in Saudi Arabia.
Raif’s charges relate to articles he wrote criticising religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, as well as pieces written by others that were published on his website.
Raif is one of many activists in Saudi Arabia persecuted for expressing their views online. Social media is a popular outlet for expression in countries where people cannot freely voice their opinions in public. As a result, Saudi Arabian authorities are strictly monitoring social media sites.
Call on the King of Saudi Arabia to release Raif Badawi immediately and unconditionally.
To: His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia
I am very concerned for Raif Badawi, who was jailed for 10 years in May 2014 after starting a website for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia.
I call on you to:
- release Raif Badawi immediately and unconditionally as he is being held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly
- quash all charges against him and demand that his punishment of flogging is stopped
- take steps to ease the crackdown on activists and their use of social media.