Saudi blogger Raif Badawi freed after 10 years in prison for "insulting Islam"

Mar 11 2022, 7:16 pm

Raif Badawi, a blogger and secular activist who was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia and subjected to 1,000 lashes over the course of 10 years, has now been freed.

In 2012, a fatwa was issued against Badawi, leading to his arrest. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, fled to Egypt with her children promptly. After applying for asylum in Canada for the safety of the family, they have been living in Quebec since.

Since Badawi’s imprisonment, Haidar has made several efforts for his release and has been supported by humanitarian activists globally.

One of Badawi’s children tweeted an old photograph of Badawi with his three kids, announcing the good news.

“After 10 years, my father is free!” he wrote.

Denouncing Islam and blasphemy are both punishable in Saudi Arabia, often by death, and a special religious police force called the Mutawwa is dedicated to the cause.

Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak, the cleric who issued a fatwa against Badawi, accused him of apostasy and incited violence against the blogger, who was only 28 at the time.

The charges against him included ridiculing Islamic figures, disobedience, and threatening the general security of Saudi Arabia with his blog.

Badawi’s sentence ended 10 days before his actual release, prompting his family and supporters to double down on their efforts.

His wife, Haidar, presides over the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom; the organization is committed to the cause of protecting the lives, rights, and freedoms of people living in the Middle East.

In her drive for the release of her husband, she also met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a little over two years ago.


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A post shared by Ensaf Haidar (@ensaf_haidar)

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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