Saudi Courts Uphold Badawi Punishment Again

The fight to get Saudi Arabia to stop being a barbaric, totalitarian state is not going well. The Supreme Court of that country upheld Raif Badawi’s sentence of 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for the “crime” of “insulting Islam.”

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told the BBC she feared his punishment would start again on Friday.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 for “insulting Islam through electronic channels”.

Saudi authorities sent his case for review amidst global protests, after the first round of lashes in January.

It’s barbarism. It’s totalitarian oppression. And it’s being done by our allies, to whom we are beholden because they control a big chunk of the world’s oil. The chances of pushing them to reform are slim if they exist at all (the only threat to their power comes from groups like ISIS, who are even worse). The only thing we can do, then, is to provide a way to get these brave people out of harm’s way as we did for Taslima. You can help by contributing to the Freethought Emergency Fund set up by the Center for Inquiry.

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  • Al Dente

    If Islam is so weak that its adherents need to punish people for “insulting” it, then it deserves insults.

  • Area Man

    The only thing we can do, then, is to provide a way to get these brave people out of harm’s way as we did for Taslima.

    Well, that and take steps to make the country less dependent on oil, so that the Saudis don’t have a perpetual grip on our nutsack.

  • StevoR

    Note for some out there in the blogosphere, when people talk about persecution for thought crimes -well this is what it really looks like.

    One thousand lashes and a decade imprisoned merely for saying something that upsets the theocrats.

    Far be it for me to do a ‘Dear Muslima’ in reverse gear but that does kinda put some things and claims in perspective doesn’t it eh?

    Raif Badawi, is a hero who has my full respect and I wish there was something I could do to stop this. I wish we could free him as we did Taslima Nasreen.

    I hope this appalling misjudgement and injustice can be stopped or failing that that it gets the attention and draws the outrage that is so very well merited globe wide.

  • Nick Gotts

    The only thing we can do, then, is to provide a way to get these brave people out of harm’s way as we did for Taslima.


    1) Reduce your personal use of oil-based products.

    2) Press for policies that will have the effect of cutting demand for oil.

    3) Press for any organisation you belong to or can influence to divest from fossil fuels.

    4) Press for an end to arms sales to dictatorships.

    5) Press for diplomatic and economic sanctions against all senior members of the Saudi regime, on the grounds that Saudi Arabia is in breach of the UN Convention Against torture, to which it is a signatory; and for diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia to be broken off it it does not comply with the convention witihn a set time.

    OK, none of these will immediately help Raif Badawi. But nor can he be got out of the country, short of an armed incursion.

  • Nick Gotts

    Further to #4: of course (5) would require the USA, UK etc. to act against their own torturers and accomplices to torture, in order to avoid justified charges of hypocrisy.

  • John Pieret

    Maybe we could quietly do a deal with the Royal family to get a pardon for Badawi, promise to get him quietly out of the country and make sure he never returns.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    The only thing we can do, then, is to provide a way to get these brave people out of harm’s way as we did for Taslima. You can help by contributing to the Freethought Emergency Fund set up by the Center for Inquiry.

    In the short term, yes.

    In the longer term, solar, wind, tidal, ocean-thermal, geothermal, cogeneration, and stirling waste-heat capture, not to mention ongoing hydroelectricity and even (where environmentally feasible) new hydro projects, combined with strong increases in efficiency in all energy sectors (lighter cars, LED light bulbs, etc) will sap the international leverage of these theocrats.

    Less international leverage means much greater likelihood of capitulation to human rights norms.

    It won’t help Badawi & Haidar one bit, but if you’ve a retirement fund and time enough before retirement to have some of your money put into higher risk (but **not** high risks, like startups) investments, the money you invest in projects that are likely to chip away at fossil fuels’ customer base will help the Raifs and Ensafs of the next generation.

  • Anna Elizabeth

    A sincere thank you to the posters here that are suggesting things, true, do-able actions, that can make a difference.

    We can reduce our oil use, we can and I do contact our representatives, the media, all of these.

    Maybe it’s small things, but it certainly isn’t nothing.

  • busterggi

    Don’t be so harsh on Saudi Arabia, look at its closest ally – a country in which one of the two major parties is pushing for a theocracy with laws that would mirror Saudi Arabia’s own.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    I agree with Nick and Crip on the general shape of the solution: stop relying on foreign oil. However, I think they’re quite wrong on what technologies are likely to get us there. The correct answer is next gen fission reactors, like IFR and LFTR.

  • rietpluim

    I’m not sure if ISIS really is worse than Saudi-Arabia. The Saudi royal family already consolidated its power so it needs to use less violence than the self proclaimed caliphate does, but the Saudi royal family is self proclaimed as well, and enforces the same brutal laws. It may not be likely, but it is possible that in twenty years ISIS is in the exact same position as Saudi-Arabia is now, and nobody speaks about their horrors again because of the oil they are selling.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    rietpluim, no ISIS are worse.

    That is why we are going to have to go in there to remove them.

    But we can wait till *after* they have shortened every member of the royal family by a head.

  • Nick Gotts

    Yesterday I received an email from one of the many groups who routinely pester me (by my consent, of course) to sign petitions, give donations, attend demonstrations, etc., concerning the Badawi case. I reproduce it here:

    Dear Nicholas,

    When I last spoke to my husband, he told me something I won’t forget.

    He told me not to expect him home in the near future.

    On Sunday, we learned that Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court made the decision to uphold my husband Raif Badawi’s sentence — 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, to which he was sentenced for blogging.

    Take action for my husband: Please help me prevent him from being flogged this Friday. Call the Saudi embassy today.

    The court’s decision terrifies me. It means that Raif will not only stay behind bars thousands of miles away from us — his family — but also that he might be flogged again as soon as this Friday. Though he hasn’t been flogged since January 9, his sentence states that he is set to endure 950 more lashes over the span of 19 agonizing weeks.

    Free people like you have done so much to mobilize on Raif’s behalf. Raif asks about you and the protests you’ve organized nearly every time I speak with him.

    I’m asking you now to continue to raise your voice. It’s in moments like these that the Saudi authorities need to truly feel the pressure from dedicated activists like you.

    Please call the Saudi embassy today to ask that Raif be unconditionally released.

    Raif taught me to hang on, to be resilient and to continue fighting for his release. Though it is difficult in these moments, I know that these moments are the most important ones.

    Thank you for continuing the fight.


    Ensaf Haidar


    As I’m British, I rang the Saudi embassy in London instead, to be told that I should write, which I have done, by email. I urge everyone reading this to call the Saudi embassy in their own country – I think a call has more impact, even if you just get told to write – and to follow up with an email.

  • colnago80

    Re #12

    The ISIL

  • colnago80

    Re #12

    The ISIL aren’t the only bad guys around. The Al Nusra Front in Syria are just as bad.