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Saudi Arabia: online activist to be flogged in a public square tomorrow

Raif Badawi faces at total of 1,000 lashes © Private
First 50 of 1,000 lashes set to be meted out to Raif Badawi in Jeddah tomorrow
Amnesty International has learned that the imprisoned Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi will be flogged in public after Friday prayers tomorrow in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. 
Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of one million Saudi Arabian riyals (approximately £175,000) last year for creating an online forum for public debate as well as accusations that he insulted Islam. According to information obtained by Amnesty, Badawi will receive up to 50 lashes tomorrow, while the rest of the 1,000 lashes will be carried out over a period of 20 weeks.
Amnesty considers Raif Badawi a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his sentence to be quashed and for him to be released immediately and unconditionally. 
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said:
“The news that Raif Badawi’s flogging will start tomorrow is shocking.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately halt all plans to carry out this brutal sentence. Flogging and other forms of corporal punishment are prohibited under international law, which prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
 “It is horrifying to think that such a vicious and cruel punishment should be imposed on someone who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.”
Amnesty has set up a text appeal to the Saudi Arabian authorities - including to the country's embassy in the UK - calling for the flogging to be stopped. For further information, please go here.

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