Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, 33, a writer and secular activist, was arrested on a charge of "insulting Islam through electronic channels" in 2012. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, to be carried out over 20 weeks.
His friends and family had to go through the horror of watching him suffer the inhumane punishment and now his wife, Ensaf Haider, has spoken out and said the crowd was cheering “like they were at a beach party” while her husband was being flogged publicly.
She added that the first 50 lashes were so severe that they nearly killed him.
Ever since his imprisonment, Haider has mobilized international support to save him. She is now filing a petition for Saudi Arabia to pardon Badawi and urging Theresa May to put pressure on the kingdom.
Haider added that her husband suffers from high blood pressure and she hasn’t heard from him in two years.
''We have not heard anything from Raif or from Saudi Arabia, but we know that he will face further punishment — we are not told when. We urge the newly crowned Prince Mohammed Ben Salman to pardon Raif and prevent the 950 lashings being carried out as this is putting Raif's life at risk,” she said.
She further added, “We also ask why the government in the U.K. — an ally of Saudi Arabia — remains silent, and that Prime Minister Theresa May uses her good relationship with Saudi Arabia to work for Raif's immediate release and send him back home to Canada to his family.”
She is hopeful the next-in-line to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, may help with Badawi’s case as he is known for his relatively progressive views.
Haider and her three children fled to Canada in 2014 and were granted asylum in Quebec.
Recently, she tweeted footage when her husband was being flogged publicly.
“This crowd is not a beach party, it's how moderate Muslims act when they flog someone for expressing his own opinions,” read the caption.
Badawi received part of his punishment, 50 lashes, in 2015. However, the remaining were postponed because of his health.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Vincent Kessler