For the eighth week in a row, Saudi writer, blogger, and activist Raif Badawi was not publicly flogged fifty times today for insulting his home country’s state religion. His official Twitter account broke the news as soon as it was confirmed:
No one is breathing a sigh of relief that this counts as sparing him, or that he is about to be freed. The 31-year-old husband and father has now spent 1000 days and two weeks in jail with little to no contact with the outside world. According to news reports, there was no reason given by Saudi officials for the delay.
Worse, his family is reporting that Raif may be about to face a re-trial on the charge of apostasy (renouncing one’s religion). If found guilty, he is to be publicly executed. Beheaded. He has been found innocent of this charge in the past, which is how and why weekly updates about his punishment for insulting his religion can even be written. Elham Manea, a passionate writer about human rights abuses, released a statement on behalf of his family:
Amnesty International’s press office also reported today that it has been denied access to Raif Badawi: