Activist and blogger Raif Badawi was first arrested on 17 June 2012. Three years later he remains in prison on charges that are politically motivated. To mark the third anniversary of his arrest we are holding a Day of Action here in London.
Raif Badawi had already spent almost two years in prison before being convicted in May 2014 for ‘insulting Islam’ and founding a liberal website. He received a fine of 1 million riyals (£175,000) and a ten-year prison sentence. In addition, the court in Jeddah sentenced Badawi to 1,000 lashes.
On 9 January 2015, after morning prayers, Badawi was flogged 50 times. This punishment was due to continue every Friday until he had received a total of 1,000 lashes. However, subsequent floggings have not gone ahead, initially because Badawi was deemed not to have recovered sufficiently from the previous punishment. No explanation has been given for the postponement of further floggings. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has now announced its decision to uphold this draconian sentence.
Meanwhile, Badawi’s lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abulkhair, is serving 15 years in prison, for his peaceful activism.
We call for Raif Badawi’s sentence of flogging to be overturned, as well as for his conviction to be quashed.
We demand that the Saudi authorities release Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair immediately.
We urge the UK government to cease providing arms to the Saudi government whilst it continues to abuse human rights.
17 June 2015 Day of Action for Raif Badawi
From 1.30pm – Protest Letter Delivery at Downing Street:
Organisations and individuals actively campaigning for Raif Badawi’s release will be holding a rally opposite Downing Street from 1.30pm. At 2pm, comedian Kate Smurthwaite and activist Peter Tatchell will join Jo Glanville (Director, English PEN), Maryam Namazie (One Law for All and International Front for Secularism), Pete Radcliff (Free Raif UK) and Melody Patry (Index on Censorship) to deliver a letter signed by over 600 groups and individuals to the Prime Minister.
From 6.30pm – Public meeting at Portcullis House:
Representatives of campaigning organisations will come together with MPs to discuss and consider how best to secure the release of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair. Speakers include:
• Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party
• Ann Feltham, Parliamentary Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade
• Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN
• Stewart McDonald, Scottish National Party
• John McDonnell, Labour Party, Hayes and Harlington
• Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All
• Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
The meeting will take place in the Boothroyd Room on the first floor of Portcullis House. The entrance to Portcullis House is on the Victoria Embankment. Please be aware that there will be standard security searches as with many other government buildings.
Social Media Protest
We’re also asking people across the world to join the Day of Action on social media, by lobbying the Saudi authorities and sending messages of support to Raif and his family. Join the call for Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair’s immediate release using the hashtags #FreeRaif and #FreeWaleed
Please consider pledging a tweet or Facebook message to our Thunderclap for Raif Badawi. The message will be sent en masse as part of the Day of Action.
You may also wish to include the following Twitter handles:
Raif Badawi – @raif_badawi
Ensaf Haider – @miss9afi
Waleed Abulkhair – @WaleedAbulkhair
For more information on the campaign and to get involved, visit website.