The Chair of the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES) today expressed her grave concern at reports that Saudi Arabia could reinstate the sentence of 1000 lashes against Raif Badawi, who is currently still in prison:
Raif Badawi, who the European Parliament recognised with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2015, is serving a ten year prison sentence for daring to speak out in a country where freedom of expression is suppressed. After he received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in public in January 2015, the inhumane punishment was suspended, reportedly for medical reasons.
Speaking on behalf of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Ms Valenciano said:
“We are alarmed at reports referring to the possible resumption of the flogging, which is a cruel and utterly disproportionate punishment. Raif Badawi is facing a catalogue of harsh punishments simply for writing about his beliefs. In the interest of the rule of law, and appealing for compassion, I call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia not to implement this extreme sentence, but to release Badawi from prison and reunite him with his family”.