Thursday, May 08, 2014

Saudi Online Liberal Religious Activist Gets Increased Sentence On Retrial

Reuters and International Business Times report that yesterday Saudi Arabian online activist Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes, ten years in prison and a fine equivalent to $266.600 (US) in his retrial on charges of "setting up a website that undermines general security " and "ridiculing Islamic religious figures".  Badawi is the co-founder of the Saudi Arabian Liberals website, set up to discuss liberal interpretations of Islam and political matters.  Originally he was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes (see prior posting), but the sentence was overturned on appeal by Badawi's lawyers who argued that the sentence was too harsh.  The criminal court in the city of Jeddah however has now imposed an even harsher sentence. The prosecution's attempt to charge Badawi with apostasy (punishable by death) was dismissed in last year's original trial.