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.

#BACKLASH Campaign to Start June 1st - Act Now!

We are happy to announce our newest initiative, #backlash, that launches on June 1st. It is a 15 week social media protest on behalf of Raif and all prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@backlashgroup).

Amnesty wants Ottawa to reveal details of $15-billion Saudi arms deal

A leading human-rights watchdog is pressing the Conservative government to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding a $15-billion arms deal Ottawa has inked to sell fighting vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for its treatment of women, dissidents and offenders.

Ottawa aims to keep lid on details of Saudi arms deal

The Canadian government is refusing to make public the assessments it conducts to determine whether Ottawa’s $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia is compatible with foreign policy or poses a risk to the civilian population in a country notorious for human-rights abuses.

Pittella: "S&D Group demands the immediate release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi."

S&D Group president Gianni Pittella and foreign affairs committee coordinator Richard Howitt met today with Esnaf Haidar, the wife of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who has been sentenced by Saudi authorities to ten years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of travel ban and 1000 lashes for alleged "apostasy". His real "crime", however, was to challenge repression in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of which he is now one of the victims.

Events This Week For Raif Badawi - Week Ending May 24 2015

Ensaf Haidar visited Europe this week and met up with Amnesty International and Free Raif Campaign Members in Norway, Germany, Belgium and France. One highlight of her trip was appearing on stage in Berlin with no less than Joan Baez for the song 'I Shall Be Released'. Plus, there were many other events planned around the world.

Thomas Dehler Medal Awarded to Raif Badawi

Bavaria's Free Democrats have honoured imprisoned Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi with their highest award - The Thomas Dehler Medal. FDP Chairman Albert Duin presented the medal to Raif's wife, Ensaf Haidar, this week as part of her visit to Europe.

BBC Interview With Ensaf Haidar, Wife of Raif Badawi

"I can't stop until my husband is released". Ensaf Haidar, wife of imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, talks of her determination to fight for her husband's release. She hasn't seen him since he was sentenced to a decade in prison and 1 000 lashes for his writings. She has been speaking to Nkem Ifejika.

Saudi Government - Freedom of expression guaranteed

RIYADH: The government guarantees freedom of expression and opposes discrimination, said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Wednesday. “There is no difference between citizens or regions. All citizens are equal in rights and duties,” the king said while receiving Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), Mufleh Al-Qahtani, president of the National Society for Human Rights and other senior officials. - From Arab News

Blogger Badawi's wife: More political support needed

Ensaf Haidar, the wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, has been visiting Berlin as demonstrations take place calling for the release of her husband. In an interview with DW, she speaks about her solidarity with him. - From DW.

Canada not tracking Saudi rights record despite $15-billion arms deal

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs has not done a human rights assessment of Saudi Arabia in the past two years even though Ottawa is brokering a $15-billion arms deal to sell fighting vehicles to Riyadh, a regime with an abysmal record for treatment of women, dissenters and offenders. By Steven Chase - The Globe and Mail, OttowaRead the full article here

Canadian Hip Hop Musician Releases New Song For Raif Badawi

This is a song I wrote about Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi. He is imprisoned for writing freely in his blog posts about the Saudi government. His punishment for expressing himself freely is 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. So, this song is titled, "1000 Lashes".

Help wanted: Saudi Arabia seeks executioners

Saudi Arabia has executed 85 people so far in 2015, already almost hitting the total number of executions in 2014. While Saudi authorities haven't explained what is behind this upward trend, don't expect it to end anytime soon: According to a job posting on a Saudi government Web site, the country is seeking more executioners to help with the workload.

Events For Raif Week Ending 17 May 2015

The latest news on events around the world this week for Raif Badawi. Regularly updated. Check the 'Free Raif Badawi' Facebook page for more...

Dances in the Kingdom of Sand

A superb piece on Raif Badawi and Saudi Arabia from the Blog of Viridis Lumen - A radical, ecosocialist take on the climate change crisis and the challenges confronting humanity in the face of global warming, resource depletion, religious intolerance, media manipulation and social injustice.

Raif's Book To Be Published in English

Vancouver, BC – Greystone Books announces the acquisition of 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think (World, English language) by imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi. The book gathers a selection of Badawi’s pivotal texts, in which he expresses his opinions on life in an autocratic-Islamic state under the Sharia and shares his perception of freedom of expression, human and civil rights, and tolerance. Badawi was imprisoned in 2012 for peacefully expressing his views on his blog.

Latest From 'A Cartoon Against Every Lash!'

The latest cartoon in the acclaimed series 'A Cartoon Against Every Lash' by Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi is entitled 'Double Role'. The inspiration is Saudi Arabia's latest bid to become Chair of the United Nations Commission of Human Rights.

UN Watch Condemns Saudi Bid to Head UN Rights Council

GENEVA, May 13, 2015 – The fundamentalist Saudi monarchy is seeking to head the world’s top human rights body, a move liable to be “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of a body that already counts dictatorships like China, Cuba, and Russia as members, and whose top advisor is co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group.

Cameron crackdown on 'poisonous' Islamic extremists

DAVID Cameron has vowed to wage war against British Islamic extremism in a decisive first move by the new Conservative government.The Prime Minister will act quickly to curb the powers of known hate preachers and terrorists - moves that were blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

#backlash Campaign Launches

The #backlash has begun. A multi-faith, multi-ethnic #backlash on behalf of those that do not have liberty or freedom of expression. Follow @backlashgroup on Twitter!

The Guardian view on the murder of Ananta Bijoy Das: an assault on a universal value

The slaughter in the street of the Bangladeshi science writer Ananta Bijoy Das by assailants armed with machetes marks the third time this year that an atheist has been murdered in that country for his opinions. The government’s reaction has been weak, where it was not indifferent. Two young men were arrested after a previous murder, but only after they had been seized by onlookers, not the police.

Norway ends blasphemy law

Norway has scrapped its longstanding blasphemy law, meaning it is now legal to mock the beliefs of others, in a direct response to January’s brutal attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Saudi Monarchy Cripples its Citizens' Ability to Dream - by Tufail Ahmad

It may escape our attention but Saudi Arabia is perhaps the only country named after an individual – Saud ibn Muhammad, the father of Muhammad ibn Saud who in alliance with Islamic preacher Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab founded the Saudi state in the 18th century. The contemporary Saudi Arabia was unified in 1932 by Abdul Aziz ibn Saud who wrested the control of Hejaz, comprising holy cities of Mecca and Medina, from the Hashemite family of Prophet Muhammad.

Events This Week For Raif Badawi - Week Ending May 10 2015

Thursday May 7th 2015 is the ONE YEAR Anniversary of Raif's sentence to 10 Years in Prison, 1000 Lashes and a fine of 200,000 Euros. Amnesty International and Other Human Rights Groups are planning Events outside EVERY Saudi Embassy thoughout the World this week. Last Week was one of the busiest ever for Campaign Events, this one will surpass even that.

Cotler Renews Calls For Badawi's Release

MP Irwin Cotler, Liberal Critic for Rights and Freedoms and International Justice and international counsel to blogger and political prisoner Raif Badawi, today issued the following statement, one year after Raif was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes by Saudi Arabia:

Never Mind the Ballots, I'm Voting for Raif Badawi!

The boring campaign. The puerile campaign. The too-close-to-call-but-I'm-going-to-go-on-about-the-endless-permutations-of-possible-coalition-deals-anyway campaign. Yes, it's General Election 2015 and it's ... nearly over.

Saudi Arabia Criticised by The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan U.S. federal government body, said in it's Annual Report last week that the US Government should, at the highest levels, press for and work to secure the release of Raif Badawi, his lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, and other prisoners of conscience, and press the Saudi government to end state prosecution of individuals charged with apostasy, blasphemy, and sorcery.

Raif Book Reading in Vienna

ARGE RAIF (Vienna) organised a Book Reading of Raif Badawi's new book on Tuesday 5th May 2015 at the Leporello Bookstore in Vienna. Readers included Violinist Lidia Baich, Author Thomas Glavinic and Profil Publisher Christian Rainer.

Raif to be awarded The Franco-German Journalism Prize 2015

The Franco-German Journalism Prize is to be awarded to Saudi Arabian Blogger Raif Badawi. The organisers want to support the global efforts to release the 31-year-old. Because of his demand for social liberalisation the Internet activist was sentenced last year to ten years imprisonment, 1000 lashes and to pay a fine of 200,000 euros. Raif survived the first 50 lashes in January only with serious injuries.

Campaign Events Week Ending May 03, 2015

The World has seen an increased number of events and vigils in support of Raif Badawi this week. The momentum just keeps on growing, as does the pressure on Saudi Arabia.

Burnside Highschool New Zealand students protest for Raif Badawi

The Burnside Highschool Amnesty International group in New Zealand held a silent protest in Cashel Street Mall at 1130 on Saturday May 1st on behalf of Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for starting up a website encouraging peaceful sociopolitical debate in Saudi Arabia.

Dispatches: Don’t Be Fooled by Saudi’s Reshuffle

King Salman’s promotion of his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef to the position of crown prince and heir apparent marks a change of direction for Saudi Arabia, raising the possibility that power in the kingdom may be put directly into the hands of the House of Saud’s younger generation for the first time in history. But don’t be fooled into thinking it will bring about a new approach to human rights. Article by Adam Coogle, Human Rights Watch.

Join the global outcry: Free Raif on May 7

Amnesty International USA have this message: SAUDI EMBASSIES, HERE WE COME! We're gearing up for a major mobilization on May 7, and we need your help.

Harper's 'principled' foreign policy is empty rhetoric for profit

Both Swedish and Canadian foreign policy approaches were recently criticized for their stance on selling arms to Saudi Arabia, with the Canadian government defending its decision to supply Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world, at the same time as Sweden decided to cancel its arms deal with the gulf state. Article by Julia Smith on www.rabble.ca.

John Key receives official welcome in capital of Saudi Arabia

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has received an official state welcome in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Mr Key is the first New Zealand Prime Minister to visit the oil-rich Kingdom and will hold talks with the Saudi ruler, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

A Plea From Raif Badawi's Wife, Ensaf Haidar

You are what hope looks like to my husband Raif Badawi, my children, and to me. You have continued to echo the call for Raif's release, and I'd like to share an insider's update on his case.

Dutch Exhibition Features Raif Badawi - King Willem Attends

The Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam (Museum of Dutch Resistance) is currently holding an important exhibition entitled 'Names, Not Numbers - Dutch Political prisoners in Dachau Concentration Camp'. In co-operation with Amnesty International, the Museum has set aside space to highlight the plight of three people currently being detained - including Raif Badawi.

Amnesty New Zealand says John Key should do more than a "quiet tick-the-box exercise" in raising human rights with Saudi leaders

Amnesty International new Zealand is calling for Prime Minister John Key to speak up about women's rights, beheadings and torture when he meets Saudi Arabia's leaders. The human rights organisation says it welcomes Mr Key's comments that he will raise human rights concerns in his talks in the kingdom on Tuesday, but he needs to do more than a "quiet tick-the-box exercise".

Events Week Ending April 26th 2015

Again - People around the world stand up for Raif Badawi. Please join the protest and share your Dates and Venues here through the CONTACT form.No more lashing - no more prison - Freedom now!

Austrian Parliament Adopts Motion for Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair

Yesterday the Austrian Parliament unanimously adopted a motion of the Austrian Green Party. The motion is a follow-up application to the unanimously adopted motion from last November, which encourages the Austrian government to take concrete actions in this respect.

Saudi Arabia: Prominent human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair beaten in prison

On 18 April 2015, prominent human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair was beaten by another prisoner at Al-Ha'ir prison in Riyadh. Also, he was subjected to threats in addition to verbal insults and obscenities by the same prisoner. It is believed that the prisoner was encouraged to carry out the beating by the prison administration.

Censorship in Saudi Arabia - Report By Committee To Protect Journalists

No. 3 on the List of 10 Most Censored Countries - The Saudi government has progressively intensified legal repression since the Arab Spring. Amendments to the press law in 2011 punished the publication of any materials deemed to contravene sharia, impinge on state interests, promote foreign interests, harm public order or national security, or enable criminal activity.

Lars Vaular - New Song Released for Raif Badawi

Great Report on Norwegian TV with Amnesty International and The famous singer Lars Vaular. Lars has released a new single entitled 'Det Ordnar Seg For Pappa' (It Worked Out For Dad).

Wartime Climate in Saudi Puts Calls for Reform on Hold

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — An electronic billboard at an upscale Saudi mall flashes an advertisement for a designer fragrance before switching to images of soaring F-16s and King Salman saluting the troops. "The response has come to you who threaten the nation," the caption says. "To those who test me, take this war as a reply."

Events Week Ending April 19th 2015

BERLIN - FRANKFURT - OSLO - VIENNA - LONDON and others. Please share us dates and venues from your Amnesty or PEN chapter:

RIP Dr. Georg Lebiszczak

We lost an important member of the international campaign for the release of Raif Badawi today. Dr. Georg Lebiszczak (ARGE RAIF) passed away on Thursday when he held a lecture about Raif Badawi and Human Rights. He died in front of students with the book of Raif in his hand. He died while defending the universal values and rights that our world desperately needs. He is a symbol for a man fighting for his ideals in both words and deeds.

NEWS UPDATE - by Nicolya Christi

In response to several requests for the latest news re Raif's situation, here is an update. Firstly, the very latest news is that Raif was not flogged today!

Seven human rights organisations refer the case of lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

On the first anniversary of the detention of lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers (the Netherlands), the Law Society of England and Wales (U.K.), the Law Society of Upper Canada, FIDH and the World Organization Against Torture - OMCT (Belgium, Switzerland) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (U.S.) have filed a complaint to the United Nations (UN) Working group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD).

Press Release by Lawyers For Lawyers and Others on Abu Al-Khair

Today, L4L together with six other human rights organizations, issued a joint press release to mark the fact that human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair was arrested one year ago and has since been in prison. Furthermore, on 14 April 2015, a petition was filed to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) in the matter of Waleed Abulkhair v. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Petition requests the WGAD to make a determination and issue an Opinion that Abu Al-Khair’s detention is arbitrary and he should therefore be released unconditionally.

Apostasy from Islam in Britain – In God We Trust?

Apostasy can feel like a dirty word. Ex-Muslims who leave Islam often feel like outsiders, rebels, and without community. Naturally like any group ex-Muslims are not homogenous. We are of different ethnic backgrounds and hold varying political views. Some left Islam after the death of a loved one when they began to question the validity of a moral God that oversees a cruel world. Others like myself were unable to reconcile ideological differences with the religion that we were raised in.

Indonesia protests at execution of maid in Saudi Arabia

Indonesia's government has summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Jakarta to protest against the execution of an Indonesian domestic worker.Siti Zainab was beheaded on Tuesday in Medina after being convicted of stabbing and beating to death her employer, Noura al-Morobei, in 1999.

Badawi case shows Saudi hypocrisy - by Trudy Rubin

Nothing better symbolizes the craziness of the Middle East, and the contradictions of U.S. policy, than the case of the Saudi blogger sentenced to a 1,000 lashes for advocating free speech.

Open Letter from Nabeel Rajab to President Obama

This letter was written in a Bahraini jail cell by Nabeel Rajab, a leading human rights campaigner in Bahrain who was arrested April 2 after tweeting about torture in the country’s central prison, Jaw. Here is his letter.

Rock N Rights Present Your Letters Of Support To Ensaf Haidar

On Friday April 10th, the members of Your Favorite Enemies went to meet with Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife, in order to give her the letters that you had sent through the band's non-profit organization called "Rock N Rights".

Saudis refuse Swedish zoo's monkeys in diplomatic spat

Saudi Arabia has refused to accept four tiny Amazonian monkeys from a Swedish zoo because of a diplomatic row, Swedish media report. The pygmy marmosets at Skansen zoo in Stockholm had been destined for a Riyadh zoo. "They didn't want the monkeys anymore because of the political situation," said Skansen zoo boss Jonas Wahlstrom.

The Ultimate Punishment: Saudi Arabia Ramps Up Beheadings In The Kingdom

By Sevag Kechichian - Grainy video footage of a public execution in Saudi Arabia earlier this year shows a woman on the floor begging for her life beneath her executioner. A man dressed in white raises a sword above his head. The images shocked the world and provided a sobering reminder of the kingdom’s unwavering commitment to the death penalty.

Rift Over Rights - Video Report on www.rt.com

The uproar over human rights intensified with the case of blogger and free speech activist, Raif Badawi. He was found guilty for insulting Islam in his blog calling for people to openly discuss religion. Badawi was sentenced to one thousand lashes, 10 years in jail and a huge fine. We spoke to a friend of Badawi's family.

Ensaf Haidar: Saudi Arabia, a state of cruel 'justice'

On June 17, 2012, my husband, Raif Badawi, my best friend and the father of my three children, was arrested in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. For nearly three years, as he has languished in prison, my family has been trapped in a nightmare.

Global Citizen versus Theocracy - A Review of Raif Badawi's Book - by Sascha Feuchert

Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi is imprisoned for offending Islam and still threatened with weekly flogging. Now some of his texts are published as a book. Review by Sascha Feuchert, Professor for German literature in Gießen, Vice –President of PEN Germany and Chairman of PEN Germany’s “Writers in Prison” programme, supporting persecuted writers all over the world.

Harry Sterling: Saudis upset at Swedish leader’s criticism

If Sweden’s foreign minister was previously little known to leaders in the Muslim world, that no longer is the case. Unlike most government representatives around the world, Sweden’s self-proclaimed feminist human-rights activist, Margot Wallstrom, recently had the audacity to openly criticize the Saudi authorities for their subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia and their recent trial of human-rights advocate Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to a 10-year prison term and 1,000 public lashings for criticizing Saudi clerics.

Book Appears by Jailed Blogger | Journal

An anthology of Internet texts by jailed blogger Raif Badawi has appeared in Germany. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for allegedly insulting Islam.

LipTV.com Discuss Raif Badawi

After receiving international criticism, Saudi Arabian ambassador to Canada, Naif Bin Bandir Al-Sudairy, has asked Canadian leaders not to interfere with the case of blogger Raif Badawi, who has been sentenced to 1000 lashes and prison time. Badawi was arrested in 2014 for criticizing Saudi religious leaders online; his wife, Ensaf Haidar, and her children are currently refugees in Quebec. We look at the story on the Lip News with Nik Zecevic and Jose Marcelino Ortiz.

Editorial: Let's keep fighting for Badawi

The imprisonment and flogging of Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi has galvanized people the world over — but especially in Quebec, where his wife and three young children have sought refuge. At the same time, the Quebec government’s condemnation of his brutal treatment and demands for his release seem to have struck a nerve with the repressive kingdom.

U.S. should press for release of Saudi blogger - Ensaf Haidar

On June 17, 2012, my husband, Raif Badawi, the father of my three children and my best friend, was arrested in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. For nearly three years, as he has languished in prison, my family has been trapped in a nightmare.

Lashes for Freedom

Angela Schmid, From Switzerland, writes on her blog today - "When I read this article yesterday I was truly impressed. So I thought I should translate it into English to make it available for more people who are concerned about Raif Badawi’s fate.All rights to this text belong to Regina Spöttl from Amnesty International Germany and the article was first published in German here:https://www.amnesty.de/journal/2015/april/schlaege-fuer-die-freiheit

Quebec to continue to support Raif Badawi despite Saudi ambassador's criticism

The Quebec government has reiterated its support for Raif Badawi, despite a written warning from Saudi Arabia not to meddle in the case of the imprisoned and tortured blogger. Badawi is serving 10 years in prison and has also been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blog posts criticizing Saudi Arabia's clerics. He was flogged 50 times in January but other floggings have been postponed for health reasons.

Saudi Arabia tells Quebec to butt out of Raif Badawi case

QUEBEC — Saudi Arabia is telling Quebec not to meddle in the case of jailed and tortured blogger Raif Badawi whose family has sought refuge in Sherbrooke. But the Quebec government says it is sticking to its position and joining with other politicians in keeping up the pressure.

Frau von inhaftiertem Blogger spricht: "Eines Tages wird Raif einfach da sein"

"Ich habe meine Hoffnung nicht verloren" Vom sonnigen Saudi-Arabien ins eher kalte Kanada. Mittlerweile haben sich Ensaf Haidars Kinder an den Schnee in ihrem neuen Zuhause gewöhnt. Seit knapp drei Jahren lebt die Familie des inhaftierten arabischen Bloggers Raif Badawi im kanadischen Quebec. Als Badawi 2012 ins Gefängnis kommt, können die drei gerade noch rechtzeitig aus ihrer Heimat Saudi-Arabien fliehen.

New York Times Endorses Saudi “Eye for an Eye” approach to Human Rights

The New York Times’ Ben Hubbard today writes a glowing piece of puffery focused on Saudi Arabia, entitled “Saudi Justice, Harsh but Able to Spare the Sword.” In it Hubbard admits that the Kingdom’s harsh punishments, including beheadings and amputations, are based on the Shariah (Islamic law) and are viewed as unchangeable and derived from Allah. But he still attempts to paint the system as merciful and some how possessing the equivalent of modern checks and balances.Article by Kyle Shideler from Center for Security Policy


Reporters Without Borders calls on the international community to maintain pressure on the Saudi authorities, who alone have the power to overturn the inhumane sentence passed on Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Calls for Release of Political Prisoners in Saudi Arabia

On 26 March 2015, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) submitted a statement for the record calling for the release of political prisoners in a number of countries including Saudi Arabia. In the statement, Senator Durbin expressed concerns over Saudi Arabia’s “troubling lack of freedoms for women and the use of obsolete blasphemy and apostasy laws to stifle freedom of religion and expression.” Senator Durbin also called on King Salman to free imprisoned peaceful dissidents including Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair.