Two years spent behind bars for expressing opinion
On June 17, 2014 Raif Badawi will have spent two years behind bars for his peaceful online activism. Apart from 10 years in prison, his charge also includes 100 lashes and and 1 million Saudi Riyals (around US$ 266,630) fine. He was also banned from travelling for 10 years and from participating in the media. Raif Badawi is yet to receive the latest sentence in writing to appeal. His lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, is himself in prison, facing charges for his peaceful activism. Raif Badawi had been charged with “apostasy”, a crime that carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. He has been detained since 17 June 2012 in a prison in Briman, in Jeddah. Raif himself described the website he created as follows: “Saudi Liberal network is a liberal forum that adopts enlighten thinking free from the religious thinking’s apparatus”. Besides that, he is also a strong supporter of the rights of women. Amnesty International considers Raif Badawi’s imprisonment as unjust and keeps demanding his immediate and unconditional release.