Saudi Arabia is final silent inside the face of world outrage at the public flogging of the jailed blogger Raif Badawi, who received the first 50 of 1,000 lashes on Friday, part of his punishment for walking a liberal website devoted to freedom of speech in the conservative state.
Anger on the flogging – finished as the world watched the bloody denouement of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish grocery store jihadi killings in Paris – centered on a country that is a strategic best friend, oil dealer and rewarding marketplace for america, Britain and different western nations however does not tolerate complaint at home.
Badawi changed into proven on a YouTube video being crushed in a square outdoor a mosque in Jeddah, watched by using a crowd of numerous hundred who shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is first-rate) and clapped and whistled after the flogging ended. Badawi made no sound during the flogging and became in a position to stroll again unaided afterwards.
“Raif become escorted from a bus and placed in the center of the gang, guarded by eight or nine officials,” a witness told Amnesty Global.
“He turned into handcuffed and shackled but his face became no longer included. A security officer approached him from behind with a big cane and started out beating him.
“Raif raised his head closer to the sky, remaining his eyes and arching his again. He become silent, however you could tell from his face and his frame that he was in real pain.”
Badawi’s spouse, Ensaf Haidar, advised the Guardian from Montreal on Sunday: “Many governments round the arena have protested about my husband’s case. I was constructive till the remaining minute earlier than the flogging. However, the Saudi government is behaving like Daesh [a derogatory Arabic name for Islamic State or Isis].”
Saudi Arabia joined other Arab and Muslim countries in condemning the homicide of 12 human beings on the Paris satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo but indignant feedback highlighted its double trendy in shelling out a merciless punishment to a person who become accused of insulting Islam.
One cartoon circulating on social media showed a person corresponding to Badawi being flogged alongside the words: “Saudi Arabia condemns the terrorist assault on freedom of expression in Paris …” Another image showed a pencil being flayed by using whips.
One female at Sunday’s Paris team spirit rally carried a placard putting forward: “I’m Raif Badawi, the Saudi journalist who turned into flogged.” Others protested at the presence of the Saudi overseas minister.
Badawi was sentenced ultimate May also to 10 years’ imprisonment and 1,000 lashes – 50 at a time over 20 weeks – and fined 1m Saudi riyals (£a hundred seventy five,000). He has been held because mid-2012, and his Loose Saudi Liberals website, established to encourage debate on religious and political topics in Saudi Arabia, is closed.
He is anticipated to obtain Some other 50 lashes this Friday.
Arabic Twitter users condemned Saudi Arabia for behaving like Isis – part of the argument that the essential values promoted by means of the Saudi country do no longer range from those which might be carried to a brutal extreme by way of the jihadi organization that controls elements of Syria and Iraq.
“Only a reminder,” tweeted one Tunisian female. “Folks that criticise Isis, which beheads and flogs human beings, and contours up kids to look at, are those who’re making excuses for the flogging of a man in Saudi Arabia. They’re all Isis.”
Saudi Arabia is considered one of five Arab countries inside the US-led coalition combating Isis. It has arrested masses of humans for alleged links to terrorism and imposed consequences on the ones touring overseas to combat – even though it nevertheless desires the overthrow of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
About 2,500 Saudis have fought with Isis.
The usa, European and others publicly advised Riyadh no longer to move in advance with the flogging. Britain’s overseas Workplace stated: “The United Kingdom condemns using merciless and degrading punishment in all instances.”
A spokesman stated on Sunday that issues approximately the case continued to be expressed “at all levels”. There is no signal that the Saudis’ western allies will take any punitive motion to returned up their protests.
“The Saudis have a coverage for in the country where they need to show that They’re pious and defend the faith,” stated Ali al-Ahmed, of the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs.
“Out of doors they undertake the other impact, that They’re liberals and that its regular individuals who are savage and conservative.
“That’s why the west says: ‘Yes, we want to defend the Saudi royals due to the fact the opportunity is Osama bin Encumbered.’
“It’s labored for the Saudis and it gives the west an excuse now not to help any sort of alternate or reform.”
Badawi’s punishment is part of a much broader campaign against home dissent. His attorney, Waleed Abu al-Khair, became sentenced to fifteen years in jail ultimate July because of criticism of human rights abuses.
His case resumes on Monday, with the government reportedly in search of a good harsher sentence.
Fadhil al-Manasif is going through 14 years in jail on expenses stemming from his assistance to reporters covering protests over the treatment of Shia Muslims inside the Sunni-ruled united states of america.