Nothing pains me more than an innocent person suffering intensely just for wanting to exercise his ‘Freedom Of Speech’ fundamental right.
The story hurts me more because this person in question is a ‘Human Rights and Social Change’ blogger just like myself.
Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger, pictured above was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes by a Saudi Arabian court for allegedly ‘insulting Islam and undermining the State and the Judiciary.’
In the World today, we are used to seeing State manufactured, cooked up charges against individuals who the Government want silenced, just as we saw in the shabby trial and imprisonment of three Al Jazeera Journalists in Egypt.
What was Raif’s real offence?
He said things the Government of the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia would rather have unsaid, things they can not tolerate because they are ENEMIES OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH!
As Ensaf, Raif’s poor wife who hasn’t seen him for four years since she fled the country to Canada with their children said, Raif, just like me was only blogging about Human Rights and social change. His blog was called “Free Saudi Liberals” but unfortunately for Raif, his repressive Government didn’t like the things he wrote, and that was his principal offence.
Raif’s bank accounts were closed and he was prevented from leaving the country since 2009. His family fled the country shortly after, to Quebec, Canada and he hasn’t set eyes on them in 4 years.
Now, he had been imprisoned and is subjected to the pain of taking 50 lashes every week in an open square, in front of a cheering crowd. He will continue this for 18 more weeks until the 1,000 lashes are complete.
His wife fears for him that his health would fail because of the brutal lashes.
She accuses the Government of Saudi Arabia for ‘slowly lashing him to his death’.
This is a particularly sad story for me and I condemn the Government of Saudi Arabia for bring an enemy of Freedom of Speech and for unjustly punishing innocent citizens who refuse to cowardly accept its oppressive laws.
I also solidly stand behind Ensaf in the struggle for her husband’s release. I salute her courage for not keeping silent and I salute the courage of her husband for being a radical fighter for human rights and change.
I can only imagine the sadness that has replaced the smiles on the beautiful faces of his daughters. Shame to the Government of Saudi Arabia for going all out to harm an innocent citizen and his family.
Written By Olisa Lotenna