SAUDI BLOGGER FACING EXECUTION – Raif Badawi, a Blogger inside Saudi Arabia, is facing the real prospect of being sentenced to some 600 lashes and even the death penalty for starting the ‘Free Saudi Liberals’ blogging site.
According to reports the 600 lashes may be imposed due to the creation of the blog site and the death penalty imposed due to him renouncing Islam.
Saudi Arabia, like most Middle Eastern Islamic states, imposes the death penalty for apostasy and according to Amnesty International Raif Badawi will be given the death penalty if convicted by the courts of such a crime.
According to Raif Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, he was arrested over his views that Saudi Arabia should become more liberal.
In July 2013, Raif Badawi was found guilty by Islamic clerics in a criminal court of insulting Islam through the content of his blog and in a number of televised appearances in which his comments were deemed derogatory towards Islam and Allah.
Raif Badawi was subsequently sentenced to seven years imprisonment and 600 lashes. His lawyers continue to appeal against the punishment.
Ensaf Haidar told reporters that her husband set up the blog in 2008 and was detained by the authorities shortly after for a day and questioned. A number of prominent clerics have branded Raif Badawi an unbeliever and apostate; which under Islamic Law carries the death penalty.
Currently Raif Badawi’s wife and children have fled Saudi Arabia and live in Lebanon in order to escape possible persecution from the state authorities.
Amnesty International told CNN recently that Raif Badawi’s case clearly shows that Saudi Arabia is not a country where people can openly debate their beliefs and call for change.
“Is clear case of intimidation against him and others who seek to engage in open debates about the issues that Saudi Arabians face in their daily lives.” Amnesty International spokesman
Meebal.com says …
It doesn’t matter what a blog / website publishes for there will always be those who agree and oppose the content.
We can never allow Governments or religious leaders to silence those who wish to speak out; it is and will remain the very underlying factor that allows human kind to move forward and attempt to appreciate others, regardless to their views, beliefs or cultures.
This year in the UK we’ve seen the introduction of the Royal Press Charter in which the Government wishes to impose restrictions on what may or may not be published.
Currently most of the national newspapers continue to refuse to sign up to the Royal Press Charter however, David Cameron is now threatening tougher measures if the press continues to refuse to sign up. See – Daily Mail
We have a clear choice here; either we bow to Government pressure and allow them to effectively stifle any reporting they don’t like or the press stands its ground and refuses to give up 300 years of free press.
Once again meebal.com will be the first to stand up and admit that we get it wrong from time to time; that we’re afraid, is simply the acknowledgment of the human condition.
What we need to ask now is … do we really want a system of free speech in order to create debate and bring to light any wrong-doing within our Government or would we rather have a totalitarian system that is no better than Saudi Arabia or North Korea?
Despite our small size as a news website, meebal.com will never sign or be party to a charter designed to silence the press; if that means moving out of the UK then so be it but the last time we looked the UK still had remnants of a democracy and not a dictatorship that could and will imprison anyone who refuses to be silenced.