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02 October 2023

Blogger lashed 50 times…950 more to go

By Staff

Saudi Arabia on Friday flogged a local man 50 times as part of 1,000 lashes ordered by a court, which also jailed him 10 years and ordered the closure of his website deemed to be against the regime.

But the sentence appears to have triggered public discontent, with newspapers saying most readers considered the ruling as lenient and called for beheading Raif Badawi, who has been in jail since mid-2012.

The papers said Badawi was lashed in public near a mosque just after Friday’s open air prayers in the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah, where a large crowd gathered to watch the lashing. They said the defendant would be lashed 50 times every Friday.

Badawi, founder of ‘the free Saudi liberals’ website, was arrested in July 2012 and accused of insulting Islam and plotting to undermine the regime.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison but an appeals court stiffened the verdict to 10 years, ordered him lashed 1,000 times and fined SR1 million (Dh1m).

“Just 1,000 lashes…this is not acceptable…he should be beheaded or crucified,” a reader identified as Rashid Abu Firas said, according to ‘Sabq’ newspaper.

“Liberalism is alien to our society and is not in the interest of Islam…I wished this man is executed,” said another reader, identified as Thamrat.

“This is absolutely a lenient sentence…please retry him and order his beheading,” said another reader, calling him Al Didhan.

Another reader scoffed at the ‘lax’ verdict and sarcastically called on authorities to send the defendant to the terror movement Daesh so they will punish him.