English PEN and Little, Brown to hold special vigil for imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi

On 23 March 2016 from 1-2pm, English PEN and Little, Brown Book Group are holding a special vigil in support of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair outside the Saudi Embassy in London.

This week sees the publication of Raif Badawi: The Voice of Freedom by Ensaf Haidar and Andrea C. Hoffmann, translated by Shaun Whiteside (Little, Brown). It is Haidar’s unforgettable account of her marriage to Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison, and tells the story of the survival of their love against all odds, and of her courageous fight for her husband’s freedom. With courage born of desperation, Haidar is fighting from exile in Canada to secure the release of Badawi, the father of her three children.

Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN, said:

Ensaf Haidar has been a tireless advocate for her husband, becoming one of the most visible and widely recognised defenders of human rights in the world. The publication of her book will help Raif Badawi’s story reach a new audience and bring greater pressure on democracies to call for his release and perhaps even question their own relationship with the Saudi regime. Raif is serving a prison sentence for doing no more than expressing his opinion, the publication of Ensaf’s book is great proof that censorship never works.

English PEN has been holding regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair since January 2015 when Badawi was first flogged for his peaceful activism. More than a year later, it is continuing to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Badawi and Abulkhair.

English PEN and Little, Brown are joining forces to hold a special vigil to mark the release of Haidar’s memoir and to amplify the call for Badawi’s immediate release. Jimmy Wales, a long-standing supporter of Badawi, will also be in attendance.

Activists are asked to meet at the Curzon Street entrance to the Embassy (note: the postal address of the Embassy is 30-32 Charles Street, Mayfair, London) from 1pm, 23 March.

#FreeRaif #FreeWaleed @englishpen @LittleBrownUK

Do let us know if you plan to attend via our website or Facebook

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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