Wife of imprisoned Saudi blogger begs Canada to intervene

2015-01-30 06:54

The wife of an imprisoned Saudi blogger, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for insulting Islam, has said that her husband can’t endure another flogging.

Raif Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, now a refugee living in Quebec, went to Parliament Hill yesterday to join lawmakers in urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene personally with the Saudis.

They want the prime minister to push for the release of Badawi who is set to receive 50 more lashes today. The 32-year-old father of three was lashed 50 times on January 9, but his second scheduled beating was postponed last week for medical reasons.

“Raif’s health condition is getting worse and worse,” Haidar said through a translator.

“I am very concerned about him. It is impossible for a human being to be able to withstand 50 lashes weekly.”

Badawi was charged with insulting Islam after he urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country on his Free Saudi Liberals website. Saudi Arabia follows a strict form of Islam that includes harsh punishments for challenging customs.

The Jiddah Criminal Court also ordered Badawi to pay a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (about R3 million).

Badawi has been held since mid-2012, and his Free Saudi Liberals website is now closed.

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