World

UN rights chief urges Saudi king to pardon flogged blogger

Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 15, 2015 during a demonstration against the 10-year prison sentence and 1,000 lashes of Saudi activist Raef Badawi for “insulting Islam” in a blogpost. The 31-year-old received a first installment of 50 lashes on Jan. 9, 2015 and is expected to have 20 weekly whipping sessions until his punishment is complete.
Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 15, 2015 during a demonstration against the 10-year prison sentence and 1,000 lashes of Saudi activist Raef Badawi for “insulting Islam” in a blogpost. The 31-year-old received a first installment of 50 lashes on Jan. 9, 2015 and is expected to have 20 weekly whipping sessions until his punishment is complete. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The United Nations’ top human rights official is appealing to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to pardon a blogger convicted of insulting Islam and sentenced to be flogged.

Raif Badawi, 31, was brought to a public square in Jiddah and received a first installment of 50 lashes on Jan. 9, and is expected to have 20 weekly whipping sessions until his punishment is complete.

He was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison, a fine and a total of 1,000 lashes after criticizing Saudi Arabia’s powerful clerics on a liberal blog.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said in a statement Thursday that flogging is “at the very least, a form of cruel and inhuman punishment” prohibited under international human rights law.

He appealed to the king to halt the public flogging by pardoning Badawi “and to urgently review this type of extraordinarily harsh penalty.”

  Comments