Saudis Rebuff Critics Amid Calls To Free Activist


Saudi Arabia’s government has rebuffed critics of its judicial system, amid renewed calls by rights groups to release activist Raif Badawi, who many fear could start being publicly lashed again soon. Aljazeera was there:

According to SPA, Saudi Arabia’s official press agency, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “has condemned statements by some countries and international organisations regarding the case … although the judiciary or any official body in the state has not issued any statement regarding his case”.

It underscores just how sensitive this case has become in an absolute monarchy that rarely comments publicly on the inner workings of its judicial system or the verdicts issued by its courts, no matter how controversial. Badawi, whose 2014 court sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes has garnered widespread condemnation, saw the verdict against him upheld this week by the country’s Supreme Court.

His family, who say Badawi was last lashed publicly in January this year, now fear the punishment will most definitely resume. “We’ve been campaigning so much and in so many countries for his release,” Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar told Al Jazeera.