Saudi Liberals website founder sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes

May 9, 2014
(Saudi students attend a computer class at King Saud University in Riyadh October 30, 2002. The university is one of several major educational institutions turning out thousands of graduates every year in search of jobs. The government is stepping up efforts at "Saudization" in a country where a third of the workforce is foreign and unemployment among Saudis is running anywhere between eight to 12 percent. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)

(Saudi students attend a computer class at King Saud University in
Riyadh October 30, 2002. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced the editor of an Internet forum he founded to discuss the role of religion in the conservative Islamic kingdom to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes, Saudi media reported on Wednesday.

Raif Badawi, who started the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial.

Apart from imposing a stiffer sentence on Badawi in his retrial, the judge at the criminal court in the Red Sea City of Jeddah also fined him one million riyals ($266,600). Badawi’s website has been closed since his first trial.

His lawyers said Wednesday’s sentence was too harsh, although the prosecutor had demanded a harsher penalty, news website Sabq reported. The ruling is subject to appeal.

The prosecution had demanded that Badawi be tried for apostasy, a charge which carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. The judge in last year’s trial had dismissed the apostasy charges.

Badawi was arrested in June 2012 and charged with cyber crime and disobeying his father – a crime in Saudi Arabia.

His website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures such as Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, according to Human Rights Watch.

In a separate ruling on Tuesday, the court also convicted the administrator of a website on charges of supporting Internet forums hostile to the state and which promoted demonstrations, Sabq reported on Wednesday. It said he was sentenced to six years in jail and a 50,000 riyal fine.

The news website said another Saudi was sentenced to five years in jail for publishing a column by a prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric on his website.

The world’s top oil exporter follows the strict Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam and applies Islamic law, sharia. Judges base their decisions on their own interpretation of religious law rather than on a written legal code or on precedent.

Rattled by the uprisings that destabilised the Middle East in recent years, Riyadh intensified a crackdown on domestic dissent with arrests and prosecutions.

In April, prominent Saudi rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu al-Khair was detained incommunicado after appearing in court in Riyadh on sedition charges, according to his wife.

Also in April, a Saudi court sentenced an unidentified activist to six years in jail on charges including taking part in illegal demonstrations and organising women’s protests.

Another was sentenced to three years in jail for spreading lies against King Abdullah and inciting the public against him.

($1 = 3.7505 Saudi Riyals)

via UPDATE 1-Saudi Liberals website founder sentenced to 10 years in jail, 1,000 lashes | Reuters.

21 comments

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Please stop Islam worldwide. This cult kills thousands of innocent women and children DAILY.

Posted by docjim | Report as abusive

A thousand lashes? That alone would most likely be fatal. I give thanks to God (not Allah, who is the Crescent Moon god) that I am neither a Muslim, nor a citizen of Saudi Arabia. If those people didn’t have oil, they’d still be out riding around on camels, hawking, and living in tents for the fun of it. What a profoundly hateful sentence.

A thousand lashes, ten years, and a fine of a million rials. Bernie Madoff didn’t get that harsh a sentence. Well, he did do the crime, but the time doesn’t include any thousand lashes.

Posted by SwainSR | Report as abusive

Saudi Liberals website founder sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes:
This is ridiculous. Most people won’t survive 1000 lashes, or if they did, they will be terribly damaged! I find it hard to believe this kind of society exist on earth. Adding insult to the wound is that we, the Americans, support this regime solely for selfish reasons! Some believe that constructive engagement will bring the change within. As for me, I doubt it very much, or if it did happen, it will be after generations of sacrifice!

Posted by VMahant | Report as abusive

There is only one God, whether you call him JVH, Jaweh, Jehovah, God, OKami-sama, or Allah.

Posted by Burns0011 | Report as abusive

How does our USA “gubmint” speak of “Human Rights” while buying Trillions of dollars of Saudi oil, thereby supporting the Saudi Sharia?

We just ignore our gubmint’s hypocrisy.

Posted by Factoidz | Report as abusive

When you all are driving around and grinning at $3.00 gasoline triggered by a blatant Saudi effort to derail our domestic drilling and energy independence by dumping crude oil on our market and driving the price down internationally — stop grinning and think about who these people are and how important it is that we have no economic need of them whatever. Our value system and theirs cannot co-exist without us simply bending over to evil. (And now they pretend they are opposed to ISIL, which they financed and created along with their other Gulf “brothers.”)

And those righteous among you who are always blasting Israel, take a moment to think of what only the most “moderate” of its enemies is like at home, to its own people, and what Israel could expect from them at any moment. Then think about Hamas,running around with their heads wrapped in black kerchiefs, who openly call for the destruction of Israel — meaning the annihilation of the 5 million Jews that live there. Get a grip on what it means to survive in the Middle East.

Posted by From_California | Report as abusive

Saudi Arabia needs to reform its judicial system.

Posted by Sasboy | Report as abusive

Hard to believe that this kind of barbarism still exists in today’s world, no less from a supposedly civilized government.

Americans, be thankful for the first amendment of our Constitution.

Posted by Randy549 | Report as abusive

Just in case you were under the delusion that Saudi Arabia is a civilized country, there you go.

There is no universe in which Western “alliances” with these sort of freedom-hating autocratic countries is okay. We long ago lost the moral high ground in favor of military value and oil money.

Posted by Loothor | Report as abusive

The Royal Family are hypocrites. They condemn others for violating sharia law, of which, they do the same. But, they do it out of sight where their subjects can’t see them doing so.

I have eyewitness testimony of them doing so on their way to New York aboard the now defunct Concord airliner. During one of those trips, as soon as the Concord reached cruising altitude, the wives of the Royal Family (and others close to the Royal Family) changed from being completely veiled to wearing makeup, jewelry, high-heel shoes, and makeup. They were getting ready for a “night on the town” – New York style. They tried to explain their behavior to the eyewitness (who I personally know to be of good character), but, hypocrisy is hypocrisy. Or, in other words, “do as I say, not as I do”. But, their excuse was that they were “keeping up appearances, so as not to disturb the peace and tranquility of Saudi Arabia”.

I wonder what Allah thinks about that?

Posted by star_messenger | Report as abusive

The Royal Family are hypocrites. They condemn others for violating sharia law, of which, they do the same. But, they do it out of sight where their subjects can’t see them doing so.

I have eyewitness testimony of them doing so on their way to New York aboard the now defunct Concord airliner. During one of those trips, as soon as the Concord reached cruising altitude, the wives of the Royal Family (and others close to the Royal Family) changed from being completely veiled to wearing makeup, jewelry, high-heel shoes, and makeup. They were getting ready for a “night on the town” – New York style. They tried to explain their behavior to the eyewitness (who I personally know to be of good character), but, hypocrisy is hypocrisy. Or, in other words, “do as I say, not as I do”. But, their excuse was that they were “keeping up appearances, so as not to disturb the peace and tranquility of Saudi Arabia”.

I wonder what Allah thinks about that?

Posted by star_messenger | Report as abusive

The Royal Family are hypocrites. They condemn others for violating sharia law, of which, they do the same. But, they do it out of sight where their subjects can’t see them doing so.

I have eyewitness testimony of them doing so on their way to New York aboard the now defunct Concord airliner. During one of those trips, as soon as the Concord reached cruising altitude, the wives of the Royal Family (and others close to the Royal Family) changed from being completely veiled to wearing makeup, jewelry, high-heel shoes, and makeup. They were getting ready for a “night on the town” – New York style. They tried to explain their behavior to the eyewitness (who I personally know to be of good character), but, hypocrisy is hypocrisy. Or, in other words, “do as I say, not as I do”. But, their excuse was that they were “keeping up appearances, so as not to disturb the peace and tranquility of Saudi Arabia”.

I wonder what Allah thinks about that?

Posted by star_messenger | Report as abusive

These are our friends, folks. Perhaps our military advisors in the Kingdom can give them some good pointers to improve their lashing technique during and after observing the the sentence.

Posted by WCTopp | Report as abusive

Saudi Arabia is a ruthless medieval despotic state, that destroys Islam with their hideous and vicious, repressive and blood thirsty regime.

Posted by mtglen | Report as abusive

Wake up Americans! This is what you can expect from “tame ordinary Islam” — suppression of speech, brutal lashings, exorbitant fines and prison sentences. Saudi Arabia is not “radical militant terrorist Islam”, they’re our “allies”, a “stable recognized government”, and the guys who provide the oil that takes you to work everyday. How about some backbone from Americans against “ordinary” Islam? And how about we make some moves toward energy independence so we don’t have to pay these Saudi thugs billions of $$ every week for oil?

Posted by RossXtn | Report as abusive

And these are one of the mid east “allies” who want us to intervene on their behalf against ISIS? If there is a difference between the two it doesn’t seem great.

Posted by Cycledoc2 | Report as abusive

That will teach him ! By Allah ! Will he be lashed before or after spending 10 years in jail ? If it is before ? He will have plenty of time to recuperate and think about it ! By Allah !

Posted by pancholinaso | Report as abusive

Wake up Americans! This is what you can expect from “tame ordinary Islam” — suppression of speech, brutal lashings, exorbitant fines and prison sentences. Saudi Arabia is not “radical militant terrorist Islam”, they’re our “allies”, a “stable recognized government”, and the guys who provide the oil that takes you to work everyday. How about some backbone from Americans against “ordinary” Islam? And how about we make some moves toward energy independence so we don’t have to pay these Saudi thugs billions of $$ every week for oil?

Posted by RossXtn | Report as abusive

I’m glad im not Muslim.

Posted by JamesOne | Report as abusive

omgawsh, how medieval! a crime to disobey a father. and who will take the time to deliver 1000 lashes? the us is just as bad as this with the teanderthals. religious ignorance is a cancer that should be wiped out!

Posted by waitingonmyname | Report as abusive

Islam. Why do you have to cut heads, cut limbs, lash, stone, burn, crucify, hang.. all the stuff that you see in horror shows? Why? Have you gone insane? Serious Islam. WTF?

Posted by --- | Report as abusive