Ten years in jail and 1,000 lashes: why we must shield Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

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The theocratic and repressive regime in Riyadh has no regard for the western values and human rights we maintain pricey
Amnesty International protesters in the front of the Saudi Embassy in London.
Amnesty International protesters in the front of the Saudi Embassy in London. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Sunday 18 June 2017 eleven.54 BST Last changed on Sunday 18 June 2017 sixteen.Fifty-eight BST

 

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It became the 5th anniversary the day before today of the arrest of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose intended crime was to argue for secularism, democracy, and human rights. He became sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – a punishment that quantities to dying via torture – even though simplest 50 lashes have been inflicted on him inside the one session. Medical opinion was that he would not continue to exist the remainder of that part of his sentence.

His motive has been taken up with the aid of humanist enterprises, as well as by Amnesty International. He has been honored with the EU’s Sakharov prize. Even Prince Charles raised his case on a visit to Saudi Arabia. We may be sure that neither Theresa May nor Donald Trump would achieve this. It is one component to coat massive arms deals inside the rhetoric of shielding western freedoms, but pretty every other to treat any of the profits for the sake of a Saudi man who wanted to revel in the one’s identical freedoms.

 

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The Badawi case is illuminating about the character of the Saudi regime and the ideas that it knows as an existential danger. These include Badawi’s brisk dismissal of the function of Islam in public lifestyles: “No religion in any respect has any connection to mankind’s civic progress … the codes governing the management of the kingdom can hardly be derived from faith.” Such ideas are manifestly incompatible with the practice of theocracy. And possibly they’re so strange to the Saudi authorities that they can’t be taken critically – in any case, the ones convicted of “sorcery” in the state are beheaded, while Badawi may additionally live on his sentence, given enough attention and aid from the outdoor world.

It is, of the route, the Saudi regime this is mainly liable for his struggling, and that has the strength to release him. However, the case also suggests how hollow are western commitments to so-known as western values. Badawi believes in democracy, rationalism and freedom of speech. These are all thoughts we’re supposed to sell and applaud, however in places in which their workout is steeply-priced we’re generally silent.

 

Yameen’s workplace said in a declaration that it condemned Rasheed’s murder “inside the strongest viable terms”.

It stated in a statement: “In his demise we have lost a younger, lively, voice full of capacity that contributed heavily, and responsibly, to the social and political discourse of our country.

“He changed into a socially conscious, civic minded, proficient, innovative, brave and impassioned young soul – the whole lot the children of this kingdom must aspire to be and greater.”

The party of Nasheed, the Maldivian Democratic birthday celebration (MDP), stated the murder of a frequent authorities critic called for “a direct, complete and obvious investigation … With the involvement of credible global investigative bodies.

“The MDP strongly believes that the Maldivian Police Service does now not possess the capability, credibility or political impartiality to conduct this type of high profile investigation on its very own.”

Yameen’s regime has currently arrested the ultimate Maldivian opposition leaders who were not already in exile.

I think the Saudis would possibly protect their repressive state by way of pointing to the horrors which have engulfed Iraq and Syria to their north or even Yemen to their south. But in all the one’s instances, and especially in Yemen, the repressive Saudi country has itself been a destabilizing thing for its neighbors.

Qasim Ibrahim, who ran for president in 2013 and currently heads the Jumhooree celebration, become considered one of 4 signatories to a latest opposition team spirit deal aimed at toppling Yasmeen.

Ibrahim changed into in short detained and released in advance this month handiest to be rearrested over the weekend.

A coalition of competition events led with the aid of Nasheed is positioning to usa Yameen in presidential polls scheduled for 2018.

There isn’t a clean or easy solution to the appalling horrors of the Middle East. If the Saudi theocracy falls, as it finally must, what comes after gained be a tranquil, secular democracy. Nonetheless, we owe it to Badawi to assist and honor his braveness with as little self-righteousness as we can probably manipulate. At its root, the idea of human rights means that there are a few matters that it is incorrect to do to any human being, and the punishment for which he was unjustly sentenced is one among them.