Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

'Flog me instead of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi' says senior US academic

BY ANDREW BUNCOMBE

A senior US academic is heading a group that offered to take 100 lashes each if the authorities in Saudi Arabia spare jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Princeton professor Robert George, vice chairman of the US Commission of International Religious Freedom, has written written to the Saudi Ambassador to the US, urging the release of Mr Badawi and offering to take the punishment instead. The letter is signed nu a prominent Muslim American, along with five other religious freedom activists.

“Compassion, a virtue honoured in Islam as well as in Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths, is defined as ‘suffering with another’. We are persons of different faiths, yet we are united in a sense of obligation to condemn and resist injustice and to suffer with its victims, if need be,” the letter reads.

It adds: “We therefore make the following request. If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him.”

Mr Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in jail last year after being convicted of offending his country’s clerics and insulting Islam. The Saudi blogger received the first of what was supposed to be 20 weekly floggings almost two weeks ago.

Amid widespread international condemnation, the second flogging, which was scheduled for last Friday, was postponed on medical grounds.

In addition to the involvement of Mr George, the letter to the Saudi Ambassador, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, has been signed by Dr M Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

Also adding their names were Mary Ann Glendon, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Daniel Mark, assistant professor of Department of Political Science at Villanova University, Hannah Rosenthal, CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Eric Schwartz, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and, Katrina Lantos Swett, president of Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice.

In their letter, the seven advocates described Mr Badawi’s sentence as a “grave injustice” in their letter and called on the government to show mercy.

“We would rather share in his victimisation than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening, we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr Badawi’s unjust punishment,” the group said.

There was no immediate response from the Saudi authorities.

Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International last week drew attention to the fact that the flogging had to be postponed because of Mr Badawi’s injuries.

“Not only does this postponement on health grounds expose the utter brutality of this punishment, it underlines its outrageous inhumanity,” he said. “The notion that Raif Badawi must be allowed to heal so that he can suffer this cruel punishment again and again is macabre and outrageous.”

Further reading

King Abdullah dead: Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over tributes 

'Flog me instead of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi' says senior US academic 

UK tributes for Saudi King Abdullah

Wounds prevent further public lashings for Saudi blogger

Prince Charles will fly to Saudi Arabia to pay respects to King Abdullah

King Salman: Successor to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

Oil prices jump as death fuels uncertainty in markets

UK tributes for Saudi King Abdullah

New Saudi king after Abdullah dies

Yemen conflict: An old hand is at work. And as always, it’s all about the Saudis 

Saudi Arabia's history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore

Saudi Arabia's proposal to destroy Prophet Mohammed’s tomb and move remains to anonymous grave risks new Muslim division

Isis: Having spent billions, the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia and Qatar find they have created a monster

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of Iraq

Saudi cleric ‘issues religious edict banning all-you-can-eat buffets’

Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong

Is Saudi Arabia regretting its support for al-Qa’ida groups?

Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?

Human rights worry at £12 billion of arms exported to repressive countries

Bombardier lands £1bn Saudi contract

 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph