Amnesty: Saudi Arabia to flog activist for blasphemy on Friday

By REUTERS
January 8, 2015 17:08

 
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RIYADH - A liberal activist sentenced to prison and flogging in Saudi Arabia will face a first round of lashes on Friday, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Thursday.

Raif Badawi, who set up the "Free Saudi Liberals" website, was arrested in June 2012 and charged with offenses ranging from cyber crime to disobeying his father and apostasy, or abandoning his faith.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,666) and 1,000 lashes last year after prosecutors challenged an earlier sentence of seven years and 600 lashes as too lenient.

"Amnesty International has learned that the imprisoned Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi will be flogged in public after Friday prayers tomorrow in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah," the international rights group said in a statement.

It said Badawi would receive 50 lashes on Friday and the rest of the sentence would be carried out over a period of 50 weeks. His website included articles critical of senior Saudi religious figures and others from Muslim history.

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