Blogger Raif Badawi released in Saudi Arabian prison 10 years later

After spending the last decade imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, blogger and activist Raif Badawi was released on Friday.

Que with the couple’s three children. Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Sherbrooke, confirmed his release on social media.

“10 years in prison #Raifisfree!” She posted on Twitter on March 11th.

A family spokesman said there were no other comments and it was not clear what the ruling conditions remained for him.

Badawi was imprisoned in 2012 and in 2014 was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 whipping and a 1 million Saudi riyal fine (about C $ 340,000) for criticizing the country’s clergy in his writings. I was sentenced.

His ruling has led to widespread international criticism, and many organizations, governments, and advocates have long sought his release.

Montreal-based human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler has been representing Badawi internationally since 2014, and bloggers will be released during March in talks with representatives of the European Union and Saudi Arabia last month. He said that expectations had risen.

Kotler, a former federal minister of justice in Canada and founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Center, has also been sentenced to imprisonment, but Badawi faces a 10-year travel ban, media ban, and fines. I warned you. It was inherited at the time of the judgment.

“We’re talking about a kind of wallless prison where he’s been robbed of his trip for the next decade,” Kotler said at the time. “It will continue the out-of-prison punishment he was receiving in prison. It is a severe pain of being deprived of being with his wife and children.”

Last year, both the House of Commons and the Senate voted in favor of a motion calling on the Minister of Immigration to grant Badawi Canada citizenship using his discretion, but that has not yet happened.

Badawi’s family and supporters have sought his release since his ruling expired on February 28.

Rebecca Vincent, director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) operations and campaigns, was “relievedly overwhelmed” on social media when he was released, even though he should not have been imprisoned first. I felt.

RSF, an international NGO focused on protecting the right to freedom of information, said: news release On March 9, Badawi’s 2014 appeal of “insulting Islam” was “arbitrary” and is now illegal under Saudi law.

“Raif Badawi’s continued detention is outrageous after a decade of ruling that he should not have been forced into prison,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said. Said.

“To keep him in custody now, Saudi authorities have added to the long list of crimes against press freedom. Enough – public debate is not a crime, journalism is not a crime. Badawi is not delayed any further. Must be released! “

The group also noted that Saudi Arabia ranks 170 out of 180 countries. 2021 World Press Freedom..

Canadian Press contributed to this article

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a Toronto-based Epoch Times reporter.