Pun­ish­ment for blog­ger is up­held

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD -

Saudi Ara­bia’s Supreme Court up­held an in­ter­na­tion­ally con­demned ver­dict against a lib­eral blog­ger who was pub­licly f logged af­ter be­ing found guilty of in­sult­ing Is­lam, state-linked news web­sites re­ported.

The Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion to up­hold the sen­tence of Raif Badawi, a 31year-old fa­ther of three who was lashed in Jan­uary in a public square, is fi­nal and can­not be over­turned with­out a royal par­don.

Badawi, im­pris­oned since 2012, ini­tially was sen­tenced to seven years in pri­son and 600 lashes for break­ing Saudi Ara­bia’s tech­nol­ogy laws and in­sult­ing Is­lamic re­li­gious fig­ures through a blog he cre­ated.

Af­ter an ap­peal, a crim­i­nal court in Jidda last year stiff­ened the pun­ish­ment to 10 years in pri­son and 1,000 lashes. The lashes had been sched­uled to be ad­min­is­tered over 20 weekly ses­sions, with 50 lashes each week, ac­cord­ing to the Lon­don-based rights group Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

In Jan­uary, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials flogged Badawi out­side a mosque in Jidda. Sub­se­quent f log­gings were halted as the Supreme Court re­viewed the case.

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