Sat 12 March 2022:
Blogger, Raif Badawi, is out of a Saudi prison after spending 10 years behind bars on charges of insulting Islam and cyber crime, his wife, Ensaf Haidar, said on Twitter on Friday, and Reuters reports.
“After 10 years in prison #Raifisfree,” tweeted Haidar, who lives in Canada where she and their three children were granted political asylum.
Badawi, who set up the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, was arrested in June 2012 for offences including cyber crime and disobeying his father – a crime in Saudi Arabia.
He was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in jail, a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,567) and 1,000 lashes after prosecutors challenged an earlier sentence of seven years and 600 lashes as too lenient. His public flogging in 2015 generated a global outcry.
In 2019, then US Vice President, Mike Pence, urged Saudi Arabia to release Badawi.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has taken a tough stance over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, which came under the spotlight after the October 2018 murder of prominent Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
Washington, in February 2021, released an intelligence report implicating de facto ruler Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi’s killing. The Prince denies any involvement.
Badawi’s sister, Samar Badawi, was also detained in July 2018, along with more than a dozen other activists, on suspicion of harming Saudi interests. She was released last year.
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