Witness: Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam publicly flogged 50 times

Only 950 more lashes to go in the sentence of blogger and citizen journalist Raif Badawi, who had called for liberalization of Saudi Arabia’s increasingly Draconian and repressive laws. Slate reports that the lashes are broken up in this way to ensure the prisoner does not die before all of the prescribed punishment can be administered, a courtesy which surely rises to the level of active and deliberate torture. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2008/11/how_many_lashes_can_one_man_take.html

Global News

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam was brought after Friday prayers to a public square in the port city of Jiddah and flogged 50 times before hundreds of spectators, a witness to the lashing said.

The witness said Raif Badawi’s feet and hands were shackled during the flogging but his face was visible. He remained silent and did not cry out, said the witness, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity fearing government reprisal.

Badawi was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He had criticized Saudi Arabia’s powerful clerics on a liberal blog he founded. The blog has since been shut down. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals or about $266,600.

Rights activists say Saudi authorities are using Badawi’s case as a warning to others who think to criticize the…

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