09 June 2015

Saudi lashing sentence for blogger 'medieval': Swedish FM

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of handing a "medieval" punishment to a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.

"My opinion is that it's a medieval sentence. It's a medieval method that does not have its place in a society that allows a free media and allows people to express their point of view," Wallstrom told Swedish Radio in Brussels.

The minister was reiterating comments that led to a diplomatic row between Stockholm and Riyadh in March.

In January, Wallstrom also accused Riyadh of using "medieval methods" after it sentenced blogger Raif Badawi to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes. Saudi Arabia's supreme court on Sunday upheld the sentence.

In March, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Stockholm, accusing Sweden of "flagrant interference" in its affairs after Wallstrom told parliament the oil-rich state was a "dictatorship" that violated women's rights and whipped bloggers. [France24] Read more