Raif Badawi News

Raif Badawi News

News releases worldwide concerning Raif Badawi. Many in original language - please use the Google Translate buttons (top right) for approximate translations.

British Leader of the Opposition condemns Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Theresa May has staunchly defended selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite the country facing accusations of war crimes, insisting close ties “keep people on the streets of Britain safe”. Jeremy Corbyn called on the Prime Minister to halt those sales because of the “humanitarian devastation” caused by a Saudi-led coalition waging war against rebels in Yemen. The Labour leader spoke out after the Parliamentary committee charged with scrutinising arms exports said it was likely that British weapons had been used to violate international law. The Saudis stand accused of bombing multiple international hospitals run by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as schools, wedding parties and food factories. In the Commons, Mr Corbyn linked weapons sales to the ongoing refugee crisis, which he said should be Britain’s “number one concern and our number one humanitarian response”. Read more on The Guardian

Center for Inquiry Demands the Release of Saudi Activist Samar Badawi

The Center for Inquiry has learned that Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi has been arrested for allegedly operating the Twitter account of her husband, jailed human rights attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair. Ms. Badawi is also the sister of jailed dissident Raif Badawi, and Mr. al-Khair was Mr. Badawi’s lawyer before he himself was jailed.

Samar Badawi, sister of Raif imprisoned in Saudi Arabia

From FREERAIFUK - We have just heard that Samar Badawi, the sister of free speech activist Raif Badawi has just been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Samar has heroically continued to campaign for the release of her brother and her husband the lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair. Waleed represented Raif in his trial and is also a free speech campaigner. Samar’s contribution to women’s rights and human rights has been recognised internationally. She has continued to be an important source of information for those wanting to know what is going on there. We understand that she has been imprisoned for her activity on Twitter. This latest development is very disturbing. It is an indication that the repression continues to grow in Saudi Arabia. It is also an indication that the British government has been totally ineffective in pursuing human rights reform in Saudi Arabia. Its claims that it has a useful relationship…

Saudi Arabia's executions were worthy of Isis – so will David Cameron and the West now stop their grovelling to its oil-rich monarchs?

Saudi Arabia’s binge of head-choppings – 47 in all, including the learned Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, followed by a Koranic justification for the executions – was worthy of Isis. Perhaps that was the point. For this extraordinary bloodbath in the land of the Sunni Muslim al-Saud monarchy – clearly intended to infuriate the Iranians and the entire Shia world – re-sectarianised a religious conflict which Isis has itself done so much to promote.

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

by Kamel Daoud, columnist for Quotidien d'Oran and author of "The Mersault Investigation." This essay was translated from the French by John Cullen and appeared in The New York Times.

Raif Badawi on Hunger Strike as he is transferred to a remote prison

Raif Badawi has today began a hunger strike as The Saudi Prison administration has transferred him to a new isolated prison. The prison administration has transferred Raif to the notorious ‘Shabbat Central’, located in a deserted and isolated area – around 87 km from Jeddah City. This prison is designed for prisoners whose verdicts have been confirmed with a final Adjudication. The Saudi government has repeatedly declared that Raif’s case is under review and is yet to be decided by the Supreme Court. We express our surprise at this decision especially after the Swiss Secretary of Foreign Affairs Yves Rossier announcement on 28 November that a royal pardon is in the works. And we are very alarmed at the prison administration decision to transfer Raif to the Shabbat Central and fear it may lead to the resumption of his flogging. As a result of this decision, Raif started on Tuesday…

The Observer view on Britain’s unedifying alliance with Saudi Arabia

Britain’s decision to join the Syria bombing has been welcomed by regional participants in the international coalition fighting Islamic State (Isis) terrorists, notably by the unelected rulers of Saudi Arabia. But this close martial association with one of the world’s most repressive, undemocratic and frankly unpleasant regimes, notwithstanding a long history of bilateral ties, should not necessarily be welcomed by Britain.

Austria censures Saudi on human rights record

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has openly criticized Saudi Arabia over its dismal human rights records and its promotion of the Wahabbi ideology.

Saudi court sentences Palestinian poet to death for apostasy

RIYADH (Reuters) - A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a Palestinian poet to death for apostasy, abandoning his Muslim faith, according to trial documents seen by Human Rights Watch, its Middle East researcher Adam Coogle said on Friday.

More than 26,000 people sign up to Amnesty International’s first online rights course

The first ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from Amnesty International opened this week, and has attracted sign-ups from people across the globe who want to learn more about the right to freedom of expression and how to defend it. Amnesty International experts, including Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Research and Advocacy, will be delivering the course. Ensaf Haider, wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, and head of the Raif Badawi Foundation, will take part in a live interactive session later today - “Freedom of Expression in Saudi Arabia”. Amnesty International has partnered with edX, a global leader in online education founded by Harvard University and MIT, to deliver the MOOC, which is designed to deepen understanding and create ‘agents of change’. “Our human rights course is for anyone who wants to discuss, analyse and take action for the right to freedom of expression around the world. By equipping people with…

Ensaf – on her husband’s award of The EU Sakharov Prize

It is with great emotion that I learned the news: the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded to my husband as a result of the decision of the European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, as well as the leaders of different political groups.

Raif Badawi Awarded The EU Parliament Sakharov Prize

Raif Badawi is the laureate of this year's prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following an October 29 decision by EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 16 December.

The vital strategic partnership between Britain and its Gulf ally is suddenly under threat

A piece in The Telegraph from Saudi Ambassador to the UK, Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz. "Over the past few weeks, there has been an alarming change in the way Saudi Arabia is discussed in Britain. The Kingdom has always had to deal with a lack of understanding and misconceptions, but on this occasion I feel compelled to address some of the recent criticisms."

Let's Free Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr

“If you neither believe in religion nor fear the hereafter, then at least be free from Tyranny and Arrogance” - Imam Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib. Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, for the past decades and in complete violation of international law, the country has routinely imprisoned and executed dozens if not hundreds of its citizens, arguing national security and religion to instill terror among the public.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and the new Middle East

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier is set to visit the Middle East to speak with Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both regional powers are adversaries on several issues. It’ll be a difficult trip.

Raif Awarded The PEN Pinter Prize 2015

Saudi blogger and activist Raif Badawi will share the 2015 PEN Pinter Prize with British poet, journalist and literary critic James Fenton. Badawi was named the 2015 International Writer of Courage, selected by Fenton from a shortlist of international cases of concern supported by English PEN, during a public event held this evening at the British Library in London.

Ensaf's Blog - 'Leaving'

From the moment we took this picture, I haven’t stopped asking myself how to go further to get the moon for Raif.It was my last night with the kids in Sherbrooke (Quebec – Canada), before undertaking a journey of more than 10 days.

Anonymous Attacks Saudi Arabia

Anonymous, an international network of hackers, has been attacking official Saudi government websites. In an exclusive interview with Deutsche Welle, a group hacktivist explains why they have taken on Riyadh.

International Blasphemy Rights Day: Michael De Dora

Michael De Dora, director of the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy and head representative to the United Nations, discusses why CFI launched the Campaign for Free Expression and International Blasphemy Rights Day.

EU Parliament Sakharov Prize 2015 Nominations

The nominations for Parliament´s 2015 Sakharov Prize were formally presented this Monday 28 September at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Human Rights subcommittee. The Sakharov prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression. The winner will be selected in late October.

ARGE RAIF! Protests in Vienna, Austria this week

Campaigner Sven Bauer, Amnesty International Austria and a live band were outside the Saudi Embassy in Vienna this week. We think there is a small chance they were heard! Check out the photos and especially the video.

English PEN Protests For Raif and Waleed Continue

English PEN holds regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of Raif Badawi of Waleed Abulkhair on the last Friday of every month. In order to amplify Raif's voice the Saudi authorities and to celebrate the launch of '1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think' in the UK this month, supporters read extracts from the book during September's vigil.

The Fight to Release an Imprisoned Human Rights Lawyer

As criticism mounts against the Saudi government for it's failure to properly manage development in Mecca, the country's human rights abuses are also coming under renewed scrutiny, including the imprisonment of human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Waleed Abu Al-Khair back in February of 2014.

Again: Saudi Arabia Wins Bid to Behead of UN Human Rights Council Panel

GENEVA, September 20, 2015 –U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini should condemn and work to reverse the appointment of Saudi Arabia as head of a key UN Human Rights Council panel that selects top officials who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide, said UN Watch, a non-governmental watchdog organization based in Geneva. “It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.” “Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi,” Neuer added. “This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of…

Samar Badawi Receives Hrant Dink Award

A women’s rights advocate from Saudi Arabia and an LGBTI rights group in Turkey have been given this year’s International Hrant Dink Award - dedicated to the Armenian journalist murdered in 2007 – at a ceremony in Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

Shame of West as it props up odious Saudi dictatorship

In Geneva tomorrow a range of human rights organisations will co-sponsor a side event at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council addressing "the extensive use of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment in the Saudi criminal justice system".

Shame of West as it props up odious Saudi dictatorship

In Geneva tomorrow a range of human rights organisations will co-sponsor a side event at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council addressing "the extensive use of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment in the Saudi criminal justice system".

Protect people, not beliefs - Ramon Casha

The recent announcement that the government planned to do away with a number of articles in the law to bring it in line with modern standards gave rise to some criticism, but perhaps the most vociferous complaints were aimed at the removal of articles 163 and 164 from the criminal code.

Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Call for a Fact-Finding Mission on Yemen

We, the signatories named below, are a group of human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa. Whereas we firmly believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International human rights conventions, we seek through this reference to disseminate, promote and defend the values, principles and standards of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa and all countries of the world.

Houston, Texas, in Support of Raif Badawi

Local Human Rights activists and the Humanists of Houston gathered in front of the Saudi Consulate in‪ #‎Houston‬, TX, to demand the release of ‪#‎Raif_Badawi‬. Thanks to Cal Hegman Photography for the pictures!

Foundation created in support of Raif Badawi

Supporters of jailed blogger Raif Badawi have started an organization to push for his release and to promote freedom of expression and of the press.

Sakharov Prize: nominations for 2015 unveiled

The nominations for Parliament´s 2015 Sakharov Prize have been announced on Thursday 10 September. The prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.The nominations will be formally presented on Monday 28 September during a joint meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees and the human rights subcommittee. The winner will be announced in October.

Russia's Nemtsov, Saudi's Badawi, listed for EU rights prize

Assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a Ukraine military pilot held on murder charges by Moscow and jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi were shortlisted Thursday for the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize.

Here's Why Blogger Raif Badawi Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

"If anyone hurts one's feelings, he will be punished by the law," said Inspector General of Police Shahidul Haque last month, addressing free speech advocates at a press conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh. "None should cross the limit."

Saudi preacher who killed his daughter released

A court in Saudi Arabia has dropped the charge of sexual assault against the father of Luma, the five-year-old daughter he had beaten to death. The decision was taken after no trace of semen was found on her body, Saudi daily Al Sharq reported on Wednesday.

Who ordered Raif’s flogging? - by Ensaf Haidar

My husband Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1.000 lashes, 50 were already carried out. Now it becomes clear: Members of the Saudi government were against it – and still are.

Stewart McDonald MP's work on Freeing Raif badawi

Before the recent British Parliamentary recess, Scottish National Party MP Stewart McDonald tabled a debate on Raif Badawi's case and urged Tobias Ellwood, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, to request of the Saudi government that an international observer be allowed to visit Mr Badawi in prison, so that they can check on and report back the conditions in which he is being held, and his physical and mental state.

Ein indischer Karikaturist kämpft für Badawi

Für jeden Peitschenhieb gibt es ein Bild, 50 Stück. Der indische Karikaturist Aseem Trivedi will jedem Schlag, den der saudische Blogger Raif Badawi bislang erhalten hat, seinen Protest entgegenstellen. 25 Cartoons sind auf Trivedis Internetseite www.freeraif.net schon veröffentlicht.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s reply to Open Letter

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has finally replied to the open letter from Raif's campaigners handed in at Downing Street on Wednesday 17th June. Thanks to Free Raif Campaigner Pete Radcliff, English PEN Writers at Risk, Index of Censorship, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Jimmy Wales and many others human rights organisations and supporters like Dr Elham Manea, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Anthony Horowitz, Philip Pullman, Noam Chomsky, Robin Ince, Khalid Abdalla, Ahdaf Soueif and lot, lot more as also friends like Adrian Cruden, Karine Drouin... etc.

VICE Interview with Ensaf haidar

VICE meets with Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, who sought refuge in Sherbrooke, Quebec, with her three children in 2013. They discuss the message her husband was trying to get across in his writings, the efforts made by both the Quebec and Canadian government to secure Badawi's release, and the life she left behind in Saudi Arabia.

Statement From Raif Badawi's Family

We have watched with great interest the response of the British Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, in today’s Parliamentarian questioning regarding the case of Raif Badawi. Mr Ellwood said that he was informed that the case of Raif Badawi was sent back to the Saudi Supreme Court for consideration.

Why Raif Badawi Matters - by Faisal Saeed Al Mutar

Raif Badawi is a Saudi writer and activist who was arrested in 2012 for insulting Islam in his blog and brought to trial on that and other charges, including apostasy. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, a fine, and 1,000 lashes.

Events This Week For Raif & Waleed

Once again, no flogging for Raif Badawi this Friday in Jeddah - and no explanation from the authorities as to why. Meanwhile, protests and vigils continued around the world in support of Raif and Waleed, whilst the World's media has continued it's criticism of the authoritarian, theocratic, human-rights abusing Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi is made an Honorary Citizen of Sherbrooke

In a ceremony at Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, Mayor Bernard Sévigny today made Raif Badawi an Honourary Citizen of the City. Raif's wife, Ensaf Haidar, and their children were present, along with Amnesty International's Mireille Elchacar.


Thanks to WikiLeaks, Reporters Without Borders is able to expose how Saudi Arabia’s government, which has suppressed all media freedom domestically, tries to co-opt foreign media outlets in order to project a positive image of the kingdom internationally.

Events this Week for Raif and Waleed

Images from around the world again this week as award ceremonies, vigils and demonstrations take place in support of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu Alkhair. Ordinary people, as well as International Organisations such as Amnesty and PEN are leading the protests.

Glasgow Stands For Raif Badawi

The Glasgow based human rights organisation Global Minorities Alliance (GMA) has called on the Scottish Government for immediate intervention for the release of the imprisoned Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi.

While Saudi Arabia Goes to War Abroad, It’s Simmering at Home

To hear Saudi leaders tell it, the primary threat to the kingdom’s stability is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Worried over Washington and Tehran’s slowly improving relationship, Riyadh has projected an increasingly militarized and sectarian foreign policy aimed at countering Iran’s alleged hegemonic aims in the Middle East.

Saudi Samar’s Activist Struggle: Samar Badawi

The black ‘abaya’ wrapping her body makes her look smaller and accentuates her pallor appearance. But Saudi Samar Badawi’s fragility vanishes when our conversation begins.

DW Freedom of Speech Award for Raif Badawi

Imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi of Saudi Arabia receives DW's first Freedom of Speech award. DW is awarding the prize as part of its international online awards "The Bobs." Article fromDeutsche Welle

Marcel Trillat : Il faut sauver 
le Saoudien Raif Badawi

Le jeune Saoudien Raif Badawi a été condamné à dix ans de prison et mille coups de fouet. Son crime ? Avoir défendu les libertés individuelles et la laïcité. Le gouvernement français, François Hollande et les défenseurs de la liberté d’expression, si nombreux à se rassembler le 11 janvier dernier, s’illustrent par leur silence.

'Most important prize ever' awarded by the Bobs

At the Global Media Forum, DW has honored four international online activists with the prestigious Bobs Awards. In a bittersweet ceremony, it also bestowed its first Freedom of Speech Award on Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

NGOs Applaud New Joint Communications Report from UN Special Procedures

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy applaud the reporting of the United Nations Special Procedures, especially the human rights experts who monitor these countries, in investigating the alleged violations of human rights in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Appel En Faveur de la Liberation Du Blogueur Raif Badawi

À l’occasion de la 6e réunion des mécanismes internationaux et régionaux de protection des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme (réunion inter-mécanismes), qui s’est tenue au siège de l’OIF, à Paris le 15 juin 2015, les signataires de la présente déclaration ont exprimé leur solidarité avec le blogueur saoudien, M. Raïf Badawi.

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Islamophobia’ - by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

'Islamophobia’ is generally defined as “prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of Islam”. To ensure that the term can be used in as wide an array of situations as possible, ‘Muslims’ are deemed interchangeable with ‘Islam’ in the definition. This implies that Muslims and Islam are synonymous and that all Muslims showcase an identical adherence to Islam. This in turn reflects blatant neglect of cultural, sceptic and humanist Muslim identities which view adherence to Islamic scriptures in varying lights.

U2 Support Raif at Montreal Concert

At their concert in Montreal last night, U2 made a tremedous tribute to Raif Badawi. Amnesty International had arranged the support, along with tickets for Raif's wife Ensaf Haidar. During the concert the giant screen displayed the photograph of Raif with his 3 children as Bono told all the world to support him.

Ein Gewissen gegen die Gewalt

Menschenrechte begründen und begrenzen Staaten wie Religionen. Ein offener Brief an den saudi-arabischen Botschafter zum dritten Jahrestag der Verhaftung Raif Badawis.