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Activists Offer to Take Lashes Instead of Raif Badawi

Human rights activists have written to the Saudi Ambassador to the USA, offering to take the blogger's punishment instead of im.

One would think that, in the modern age that we’re in and with all the advancements in economy, technology and infrastructure through which the Gulf countries in specific are racing for first place, human rights and freedom of speech would come naturally as part of the package. Sadly, you thought wrong. Saudi Arabia is apparently still stuck at a time way back in history. Tall buildings and talk about modernisation won’t fool us anymore, and it’s all nothing if a human is not valued as he should be. Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, got arrested for promoting a secular government for his country, that’s still named after the tribe that first established it. That’s not it, though. He got sentenced to 10 years in prison in addition to a THOUSAND LASHES. That’s just another slow excruciating form of a death sentence. A thousand lashes, distributed over 20 weeks, just so he’ll get 50 lashes every time he’d start to heal, all because he spoke his mind. Religious freedom advocates from the U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), including the Chair and Vice Chair, sent a letter to the Saudi Ambassador in the U.S requesting Badawi’s release, and because they know (like all of us) that that’s very unlikely to happen, they offered an alternative: the 7 of those senders would each take 100 lashes on behalf of Badawi. The letter senders are diverse in political and religious stances; they include Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, and Christians, Jews, and a Muslim. Dr Robert George, the Vice Chair of the USCIRF, said, "Badawi’s case is important because he is a human being, a precious member of the human family, who is being made to suffer unjustly." Human rights advocates and political icons and activists around the world have criticised the Saudi authorities’ act and called the punishment “barbaric.” What’s quite hypocritical is that the Saudi government made a statement in support of Charlie Hebdo, wanting to prove a point that the country was in support of human rights, including that to criticise others as a form of civil liberty. So, where’s that now? 


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Date: 11/25/2020
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Venue: Goethe Institute