Hope: Saudi Blogger’s Flogging Stayed...For Now

Posted: Jan 17, 2015 9:00 AM

We’ve been following this story with increased interest and heavy hearts. As you might recall, a Saudi blogger is being subjected to court-ordered cruelty -- a sentence of 1,000 total lashes to be carried out over a five month period until every blow is keenly felt.

Last week, of course, the sentence was green-lighted as ordered -- but because the beating was so severe, blogger Raif Badawi has been granted a bit of leniency :

The second of 20 weekly floggings of a Saudi blogger accused of insulting Islam in a case that has drawn international condemnation of the Kingdom's harsh system of justice was postponed on medical grounds, Amnesty International said Friday.

Raif Badawi, who was flogged 50 times in public one week ago, was due to face the same punishment every Friday until he had received 1,000 lashes, followed by 10 years in prison.

Naturally, the punishment is totally hypocritical (via The BBC):

Mr Badawi's supporters accused Saudi Arabia of hypocrisy after officials attended a solidarity march in Paris last week.

The march honoured the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack which prompted global debate about the importance of free speech.

Yes, by all means, Saudi Arabia, send officials to a "solidarity march" overseas in defense of free expression while your own government flogs a blogger for speaking truth to power at home. Makes total sense.

Let’s hope that the government of Saudi Arabia finally relents and shows some compassion by permanently stopping these abominable practices. As it happens, there's a chance that they could.