Washington calls on Saudi Arabia to free blogger Raif Badawi
US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday urged Saudi Arabia to free blogger Raif Badawi, in a rare move from the Trump administration to this strategic ally.
S ‘Speaking at a conference on Religious Freedom in Washington, Mike Pence Raif Badawi cited in a list of persons detained in the world for speaking about religion in Saudi Arabia, but also in Eritrea, Mauritania and in Pakistan.
Blitz to release Raif
“The American people are at their side, and today the United States of America calls on the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the rights of conscience of these men and to free them Said the Republican Vice President.
Raif Badawi has been imprisoned since 2012 and was sentenced in November 2014 to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam”. He had received 50 lashes in January 2015 but the other sessions, which were to be weekly, had been suspended after a wave of protests around the world.
A fierce defender of freedom of expression, Raif Badawi had asked on his website the end of religious influence in the Saudi kingdom, governed by Wahhabism, strict version of Islam.
Raif Badawi was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament in 2015, a prestigious award for human rights and freedom of expression.
His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and his three children live in Sherbrooke, Canada.