5 Aug

Saudi Blogger Faces 7-year Jail Term for Insulting Islam

A Saudi court has sentenced a Saudi blogger to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for violating the country’s anti-cyber crime law, says Human Rights Watch.

Lash and jail for web activist

A Jeddah Criminal Court found Raif Badawi, who has been in prison since June last year, guilty for insulting Islam using his website and in television statements.

“This incredibly harsh sentence for a peaceful blogger makes a mockery of Saudi Arabia’s claims that it supports reform and religious dialogue,” said NadimHoury, the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A man who wanted to discuss religion has already been locked up for a year and now faces 600 lashes and seven years in prison.”

Freedom of expression in matters of religion

Badawi’s lawyer told Human Rights Watch that Judge al-Harbi read the judgment and they’ll have 30 days to appeal.

EnsafHaidar, Badawi’s wife, said she’s devastated by the verdict.

“I don’t know what to do,” Haidar said Wednesday. “Raif did nothing wrong.”

Badawi’s legal trouble began when he created a website, Free Saudi Liberals, in 2008. He was then detained for one day and asked about his website. Some clerics described him as an unbeliever and apostate.