Raif Badawi & the Optimism of Dissent

Raif Badawi was not flogged today, August 14. Official reasons were not given. Hope exists this week that his case and his sentence is being reviewed once again by the Saudi Arabian judicial system.

Raif Badawi is a writer who started a blog entitled “Saudi Arabian Liberals,” was arrested in 2012 and charged with “insulting Islam” and with apostasy for his writings, was found guilty of insulting Islam, and was given the fearsome sentence of 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. On January 9, he was whipped in public for the first time; 50 lashes were delivered. He has not been whipped in public since; he has also not been seen in public since. The international outcry has been enormous—Amnesty International has revealed that Raif Badawi’s story has received more signatures supporting his release than any other in its history. Bono has spoken about the case in U2 concerts. Saudi Arabia has been forced to break its typical silence and comment on his case. Those comments have been disheartening, but Raif Badwi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, continues her remarkable and brave fight.
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