German writers call for support for imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi | DW Freedom | Speech. Expression. Media. | DW | 14.09.2020

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DW Freedom

German writers call for support for imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi

More than 50 writers have appealed to the German government to demand the release of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

More than 50 German-speaking writers have written letters to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, urging them to advocate the release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who has been imprisoned for eight years. The signatories called on Steinmeier and Maas to stand up for Badawi to the government in Riyadh "to save the life of our colleague," who is reportedly in "an extremely worrying state of health."

"We the members of the PEN Center of German-speaking authors abroad as well as other signatories of this letter hereby urge you to use your influence and international reputation to save the life of our colleague, the Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi," the letters say. His health has deteriorated severely after he was beaten up in his prison cell.

The signatories include Nobel Prize laureate Herta Müller, Marko Martin, Freya Klier, Guy Stern, Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt, Naomi Lubrich and Barbara Honigmann. 

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar expressed her gratitude for the initiative via Twitter.

Badawi was arrested in 2012. Two years later, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and a thousand lashes for "insulting Islam." In 2015 Badawi was awarded the DW Freedom of Speech Award.