The Slatest

Saudi Arabian Blogger to Receive Second Public Flogging for Website Promoting Debate

A Saudi man works on his laptop at a hotel in Riyadh in Jan. 2012.  

Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi is scheduled to be publicly flogged for the second time on Friday after being convicted of cybercrime and insulting Islam. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for starting the “Free Saudi Liberals” website that encouraged religious and political debate in Saudi Arabia.

In 2012, Badawi was arrested and charged with “insulting Islam through electronic channels” and “going beyond the realm of obedience,” the BBC reports. The site was shut down and Badawi was found guilty and initially sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison, but his punishment was increased on appeal because it was considered too lenient. He was flogged 50 times last week and will receive the same punishment weekly for 20 weeks.


The sentence has been widely condemned by the international community. After the first flogging, Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told Amnesty International: “Raif told me he is in a lot of pain after his flogging, his health is poor and I’m certain he will not be able to cope with another round of lashes.” Here’s what Badawi’s first flogging looked like, via the New York Times:

An unidentified witness cited by Amnesty said that Mr. Badawi was taken from a bus and flogged 50 times in a public square outside of a mosque in the port city of Jidda after Friday Prayer. About 15 minutes later, he was put back on the bus and taken away. Amnesty said it would not identify the witness because of security concerns.