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Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Flogged for His Liberal Ideas

Rome, Italy. 9th January 2015 -- Protestors with masks of Raif Badaw, protesting against the request of the death penalty and calling for the release of blogger. -- Sit-in in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to protest against the flogging and ask for the immediate release of journalist and blogger Saudi Raif Badawi imprisoned on charges of apostasy. Photograph by Stefano Montesi. Copyright: Demotix

Rome, Italy. 9th January 2015 — Protestors with masks of Raif Badawi at a sit-in in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to protest against the journalist and blogger's flogging and ask for his immediate release. Photograph by Stefano Montesi. Copyright: Demotix

Saudi liberal blogger Raif Badawi was publicly flogged today [January 9] in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of founding an online forum for public debate and for “insulting Islam.”

According to witnesses, the 30-year-old, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail last year, was reportedly lashed 50 times today outside a mosque in Jeddah, after Friday prayers. He will continue to be flogged every week until his punishment is met.

The sentence, was caused an international outcry, also includes a 1 million Saudi Riyal fine (roughly US dollars $260,000).

Saudi lawyer Waleed Abulkhair's Twitter account, with 78.3K followers, confirmed the news:

Raif Badawi has indeed been flogged today in Jeddah, in front of people, after the Friday prayers. Some of those gathered chanted: Allah Akbar (God is Great)

Abulkhair, the head of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, has been in prison in for nine months now, and his account is being run by friends.

On Facebook, Kacem El Ghazzali shares a photograph of the Jeddah mosque where the flogging allegedly took place:

The Jeddah mosque where Badawi was allegedly flogged today. Photograph shared by Kacem El Ghazzali on Facebook

The Jeddah mosque where Badawi was allegedly flogged today. Photograph shared by Kacem El Ghazzali on Facebook

The post attracted angry comments. This commentator writes:

Hands down one of the stupidest countries on Earth. Just being there makes you feel like you've entered some sort of wasteland from The Dark Ages with Skyscrapers.

Another adds:

A very sad and dark moment, I can not even fathom the unbearable pain he must withstand, helpless in the hands of these psychopaths.

On Twitter, supporters, from Saudi Arabia and across the Arab world, spoke up against the punishment. Dohan Alsalem says Badawi's name has now been immortalised.

Don't they realise that they have now immortalised his name in history!!

Hilda Ismail, from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, tweets to her 22.6K followers:

Those of you who did not feel the pain with every lash Raif Badawi recieved today on his body are not humans.

Sigh my country.

Tounsia Hourra [Free Tunisian] adds:

Just a reminder: Those who criticise the ISIS, which beheads and flogs people, and lines up children to watch, are the ones who are making excuses for the flogging of a man in Saudi Arabia. They are all ISIS.

Many pointed fingers to how Western countries continue to support Saudi Arabia, despite its atrocious human rights record.

Marietje Schaake, Member of European Parliament, tells her 30.1K followers on Twitter:

From the UK, Daniel Wickham reminds his 1,700 followers on Twitter about Saudi Arabia's arms deals with his country:

And Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International Hassiba HadjSahraoui points out the obvious — “Saudi getting a free pass as always.”

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