Raif Badawi released from prison
After 10 years in detention in Saudi Arabia, Saudi blogger Raïf Badawi is released from prison.
His wife reported this information on her Twitter account. Amnesty International also confirmed the news.
— Ensaf Haidar ⚜️ (@miss9afi) March 11, 2022
Raif Badawi had called on its website for the end of religious influence in the Saudi kingdom, governed by Wahhabism, a rigorous version of Islam.
In addition to being sentenced to 10 years in prison for criticizing religious leaders in Saudi Arabia, he was sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes. During a public flogging in January 2015, he received 50 lashes. The other 950 were later canceled. Raïf Badawi was to be released a few days ago, at the end of his sentence.
The blogger's conviction and flogging had caused outcry around the world, to the point where the United States got involved. In 2019, US Vice President Mike Pence called on Saudi Arabia to release the blogger.
“The American people stand with them, and today the United States of America calls on the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia to respect the right of conscience of these men and to release them,” he said.
Mr. Badawi’s sister was also arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2018.
An honorary citizen of Montreal
Raïf Badawi was designated honorary citizen of the City of Montreal in May 2018 by the Mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante. She reacted to the news on her Twitter account.
Raif Badawi, qui a été fait citoyen d’honneur de Montréal en 2018, aurait été libéré! Après avoir passé 10 ans en prison pour avoir défendu le respect des droits de la personne et la liberté d’expression, nous lui souhaitons de profiter de sa liberté retrouvée. #polmtl https://t.co/xjEwDBpcE2
— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) March 11, 2022
In 2015, Raïf Badawi received the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament, a prestigious distinction in favor of human rights and freedom of expression.