19 September 2015

#48 Whipped for Words

In 2012, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia for having “insulted Islam” when he criticized that county’s government. He was sentenced in 2013 to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison, subsequently bumped up to 1000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a fine in 2014. The first 50 lashes were administered in January 2015, and the second set has subsequently been postponed a number of times because of his poor health. His wife fears that he will not survive the punishment.

Generally, this kind of inhumane treatment and violation of the right to free speech ought to concern every government and every country should be using the various levers of international pressure to intervene in the case. Canada, which has done very little, has a special reason to intervene and to advocate on behalf of this man: his wife and children are recognized refugees living in Canada. This gives Canada not only the right, but the obligation to intervene in the interest of reuniting this family in a safe place…here.

Has Canada done anything overt to have this man freed? Has it played a role of assuring his health and keeping his family in Canada informed about the process and the state of his health? It doesn’t seem so.

Has Canada continued to support the sale of Canadian-produced military hardware to Saudi Arabia with ongoing high-level contacts and advocacy on behalf of those companies hoping to make money on war? But of course.

I guess we know where the priorities lie.

Further reading here

He criticized them,
earning jail time and lashes
And we? We stood by.

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