06 May 2015

Raif Badawi: The West is not doing enough to support a hero of liberalism

.... The last time Saudi citizens were shown such largesse coincided with the 2011 Arab uprisings, and its effect this time seems likely to be much the same as ever: a lull in the airing of grievances about rights and political freedoms.

One subject, however, has little reason to thank the King. It is now a year since Raif Badawi, a blogger, was first incarcerated. The public floggings – handed down as part of a 10-year sentence for insulting Islam – have stopped, at least for now, but hopes that Mr Badawi would be released by a new ruler courting international opinion have proven over-optimistic.

The clerical establishment that holds such sway would not look kindly on any show of lenience to a man whose crime was to write – often beautifully, sometimes scathingly – on the benefits of a secular outlook and the separation of Church and State. [The Independent] Read more