English PEN is continuing to hold weekly vigils outside the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in London in support of Raif Badawi, every Friday at 9:00 AM GMT
Raif Badawi is an activist and blogger who was convicted in May 2014 for insulting Islam and founding a liberal website. He received a fine of 1 million riyals (£175,000) and a ten-year prison sentence. In addition, the court in Jeddah sentenced Badawi to 1,000 lashes.
On 9 January 2015, after morning prayers, Badawi was flogged 50 times. This punishment was due to continue every Friday until he has received a total of 1,000 lashes. However, subsequent floggings have not gone ahead, initially because Badawi was deemed not to have recovered sufficiently from the previous punishment. No explanation has been given for the postponement of two further floggings, scheduled for 30 January and 6 February.
On 10 February, it was reported that Prince Charles had raised Badawi’s case with the Saudi King during a meeting in Riyadh and that ‘the reaction from the king was not unfriendly.’ Despite this the authorities have yet to comment further on his case.
English PEN staff are in regular contact with Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who remains gravely concerned for his health and well-being. She is very grateful for PEN’s ongoing support and has urged us to keep fighting.
Please join us and our colleagues at Index on Censorship for our fifth vigil this Friday 13 February, from 9am. Activists are asked to meet at the Curzon Street entrance to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mayfair, London (note: the postal address of the Embassy is 30-32 Charles Street).
In the meantime, please continue to show your support for Raif and his family.
- Write to the Saudi authorities (a sample letter is available below) – please cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call on the new British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia to take urgent action
- Urge your MP to support Early Day Motion 720 condemning the sentence imposed on Raif Badawi
- Show your support for Raif Badawi on social media – #FreeRaif
- Send a message to his family – via email to email@example.com
Letter to the authorities
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to express serious concern for Raif Badawi.
According to PEN’s information, on 9 January 2015 imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi received the first round of 50 lashes in a public flogging after Friday prayers. Badawi is now due to receive 50 lashes each Friday until he has received 1,000 lashes, although subsequent floggings have not gone ahead.
I join PEN in calling for his sentence of flogging to be overturned immediately, as well as for Badawi’s conviction to be quashed and for him to be released unconditionally.
I would welcome your comments on my appeal.