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Badawi threatened with more lashes

David Martin
October 19, 2016

Saudi Arabia reportedly wants to resume its corporal punishment against detained blogger Raif Badawi. In an interview with DW, his wife Ensaf Haidar, opens up about her fears.

Kanada Saudi-Arabien Demonstration für Blogger Raif Badawi
Image: picture-alliance/empics

Ensaf Haidar: 'Raif is suffering a lot'

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi received the first part of his corporal punishment, 50 lashes, on January 9, 2015. The punishment was carried out in public in a square next to a mosque in Jeddah. Badawi was so badly injured that the rest of his punishment was suspended.

A source close to Haidar has told her that the remaining 950 lashes will be carried out privately in prison very soon.

"I was totally shocked by the news. I am worried and scared that they will carry on whipping him," Haidar said in an interview with DW. "I am very concerned about Raif's health, which is not good. Niether is his mental or his physical state."

Menschenrechtsaktivistin Ensaf Haidar
Ensaf HaidarImage: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Heinl

Haidar hopes that western governments will help

Haidar has called on the Saudi government and royal family to cease the punishments. "I would hope that the Saudi authorities strip Raif of his citizenship and then deport him to Canada, so he can be with us," said Haidar, who lives in asylum with their children in Canada. She hopes that western governments will come out supporting the suspension of Raif's sentence.

Badawi was sentenced in May 2014 to ten years in prison, handed a fine and condemned to 1,000 lashes. He was accused of insulting Islam on his private internet forum, "The Saudi Liberals." The forum was intended to serve as a platform for critical and uncensored reports and analyses. Badawi received a number of honors for his work. In the last year, he was awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights from the European Parliament and the Freedom of Speech Award from Deutsche Welle.