Raif Badawi

Raif Badawi
Raif Badawi cropped.jpg
Raif Badawi in 2012
Born (1984-01-13) 13 January 1984 (age 34)
Khobar, Saudi Arabia
NationalitySaudi Arabian
OccupationAuthor, writer and activist
Known forBlogging, apostasy charge
Ensaf Haidar (m. 2001)
RelativesSamar Badawi (sister)
AwardsPEN Canada One Humanity Award 2014,
Netizen Prize of Reporters without Borders 2014,
Aikenhead Award 2015 of Scottish Secular Society,
Courage Award from the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy 2015,
DW Freedom of Speech Award 2015,
Honorary Title for Freedom of Expression, granted by Brussels University Alliance (VUB and ULB) 2015,
Press Freedom Prize 2015 from Reporters Without Borders Sweden
Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, 2015 Laureate

Raif Badawi (Arabic: رائف بدوي‎, also transcribed Raef Badawi;[1] born 13 January 1984)[2] is a Saudi writer, dissident and activist, as well as the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 on a charge of "insulting Islam through electronic channels" and brought to court on several charges, including apostasy. In 2013 he was convicted on several charges and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. In 2014 his sentence was increased to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes, and a fine. The flogging was to be carried out over 20 weeks. The first 50 lashes were administered on 9 January 2015.[3] The second flogging has been postponed more than twelve times.[4] The reason for the most recent postponement is unknown, but the previous scheduled floggings were delayed due to Badawi's poor health.[5] Badawi is known to have hypertension, and his health has worsened since the flogging began.[6]

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, who took refuge in Canada after her life was threatened in Saudi Arabia, has said Badawi will not be able to survive further flogging.[7] Ensaf Haidar has given a series of televised interviews about Badawi’s plight, including at the 2016 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.[8]

Trials and sentences

Arrest, trial and first sentence

First detained on apostasy charges in 2008, Badawi was released after a day of questioning.[2] He was prevented from leaving Saudi Arabia, and both his and his wife's bank accounts were frozen in 2009.[9] The family of Badawi's wife subsequently filed a court action to forcibly divorce the couple on grounds of Badawi's alleged apostasy. On 17 June 2012, he was arrested on a charge of “insulting Islam through electronic channels”,[2] and the following December he was also cited for apostasy, a conviction which carries an automatic death sentence.[10][11] However, Badawi was confirmed to be a Muslim after reciting the Shahada in court, and also stated that people should have the right to choose their faith. Human Rights Watch stated that Badawi's website had hosted material criticizing "senior religious figures".[11] Badawi had also suggested that Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University had become "a den for terrorists."[12]

Following the 2012 arrest, Amnesty International designated Badawi a prisoner of conscience, "detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression", and said: "Even in Saudi Arabia where state repression is rife, it is beyond the pale to seek the death penalty for an activist whose only 'crime' was to enable social debate online".[13] Calling for the government to drop the charges, Human Rights Watch stated: "The charges against him, based solely to Badawi's involvement in setting up a website for peaceful discussion about religion and religious figures, violate his right to freedom of expression".[2]

Charged with "setting up a website that undermines general security", "ridiculing Islamic religious figures", and "going beyond the realm of obedience”, Badawi appeared before a district court in Jeddah on 17 December 2012.[1] The judge referred the charge of apostasy to a higher court, saying he "could not give a verdict in a case of apostasy."[14] On 22 December, the General Court in Jeddah decided to proceed with the apostasy case.[1] The higher court refused to hear the case and referred it to the lower court.[15]

On 30 July 2013, Saudi media reported that Badawi had been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for founding an Internet forum that "violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought". The court also ordered the website closed.[16]

Sentence increased

On 26 December 2013, Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar told CNN a judge had ruled that her husband should go before a high court for the apostasy charge which would result in a death penalty if convicted.[17] On 7 May 2014 Badawi’s sentence was increased to 1000 lashes,10 years in prison, and a fine of 1 million riyal (equal to about $267,000), for “insulting Islam”.[18][19] In mid-January 2015, the case was passed to the Saudi Supreme Court for review.[20][21][22] On 1 March 2015, Badawi's wife told reporters that judges in Saudi Arabia's criminal court wanted to retry him for apostasy, and that if found guilty he would be sentenced to death.[23][24]

Other Languages
العربية: رائف بدوي
български: Раиф Бадауи
català: Raif Badawi
čeština: Ráif Badawí
Deutsch: Raif Badawi
Ελληνικά: Ραΐφ Μπαντάουι
español: Raif Badawi
فارسی: رائف بدوی
français: Raif Badawi
galego: Raif Badawi
Bahasa Indonesia: Raif Badawi
italiano: Raif Badawi
ქართული: რაიფ ბადავი
მარგალური: რაიფ ბადავი
Nederlands: Raif Badawi
polski: Raif Badawi
português: Raif Badawi
română: Raif Badawi
русский: Бадави, Раиф
Simple English: Raif Badawi
svenska: Raif Badawi
Türkçe: Raif Bedevi
українська: Раїф Бадаві
Tiếng Việt: Raif Badawi
Zazaki: Raif Badawi