Middle East

Saudi Arabia postpones public flogging of Raif Badawi

Media captionSpeaking before the postponement Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar spoke to the BBC

Saudi Arabia has postponed the flogging of Raif Badawi on medical grounds.

The blogger and activist, who founded the now-closed online forum Liberal Saudi Network, was due to receive 50 lashes in public after Friday prayers.

Last May he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" and disobedience.

Mr Badawi received the first round of lashes last Friday, prompting international outcry. The Gulf kingdom offered no response to the protests.

Saudi Arabia is yet to comment on the health of Raif Badawi or the postponement of his punishment.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International said in a statement that Mr Badawi was examined by a doctor who felt his wounds had not yet healed and that he would not be able to stand another beating.

The doctor recommended that the flogging be postponed until next week, Amnesty added.

Raif Badawi

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Amnesty International launched a global campaign to free Mr Badawi
  • In 2008 he founded the Liberal Saudi Network which promoted online debate on religion and politics in Saudi Arabia
  • In 2012 he was charged with insulting Islam and disobedience
  • He was then sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes
  • Last May this was increased to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes

Mr Badawi's supporters accused Saudi Arabia of hypocrisy after officials attended a solidarity march in Paris last week.

The march honoured the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack which prompted global debate about the importance of free speech.

Those campaigning for Mr Badawi's release say this is something which he has been denied.

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