Deputy Trump calls on Saudi Arabia to release blogger Raef Badawi News -

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US Vice President Mike Bens on Thursday (July 18, 2019) called for the release of blogger Raef Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting Islam, in a rare criticism of Riyadh, Washington's ally.. At a high-level conference on religious freedoms held at the State Department, Tla Bens names a list of prisoners around the world detained for their religious views, including Ra'if Badawi.

"The United States stands with them, so the United States today calls on the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect and release the rights of opinion of these men," the vice president said.

Saudi blogger Ra'ef Badawi, 35, co-founder of the Saudi liberal network, has been jailed in the kingdom since 2012 on charges of insulting Islam. He was sentenced in May 2014 to ten years' imprisonment and 1,000 lashes distributed over 20 weeks, of which the first batch received 50 lashes, which provoked an international reaction that caused the Saudi authorities to suspend the rest of the skin sessions.

Badawi's wife, Hadaf Haider, and his three children have been living in Canada since they were granted asylum in 2013, a year after his arrest.

In 2015, the European Parliament gave the Saudi blogger the prestigious Sakharov Prize for his struggle for freedom of expression and human rights. Amnesty International has also launched several solidarity campaigns with him and to pressure Saudi Arabia to release him but without success so far.


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