Raif Badawi is a human rights activist and the founder of an online forum for political and social debate, ‘Saudi Arabian Liberals’, that encourages discussion of social issues in Saudi Arabia. In June 2012, Badawi was arrested and charged with apostasy, a crime punishable by death penalty. In July 2013, the criminal court found Badawi guilty of commiing offences including violating Saudi Arabia’ s information technology law and insulting religious authorities by creating and managing an online forum. He was also convicted of insulting religious symbols in his tweets and Facebook posts. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, and the online forum was ordered to cease. In December 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that the case be reviewed again, but returned the case to the same judge. Consequently in 2014, Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals in connection with his online forum and accusations that he insulted Islam. He was also banned from travelling for 10 years following his release. On January 9, 2015, Badawi was lashed 50 times in public before hundreds. After an international outcry, Saudi authorities suspended the remaining lashes, citing medical reasons. On June 7, 2015, per the King’s request, the Supreme Court reviewed and upheld Badawi’s final sentence. Badawi is still imprisoned.
An urgent appeal for the case of Raif Badawi was filed by HRF to the UNWGAD calling for his release and bringing aention to his deteriorating health condition.
Charges: Apostasy; violating Saudi Arabia’s information technology law; insulting religious authorities and symbols
Jail Term: 10 years
Dhahban Central Prison
Al Riyadh, Dahaban 23851
Information provided by
Human Rights Foundation