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Raif Badawi is 33 today. Vigils marking the date were held on his behalf today in many nations outside Saudi Arabia’s embassies.
There is no new news to report regarding the young writer’s condition. The absence of news is a heavy, ever-present reminder that Raif Badawi is always in imminent danger of his punishment being resumed. Saudi Arabia has never publicly stated any intention to free him, reduce his ten-year sentence, or show him any leniency. He is always in imminent danger.
For Raif—and for his lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abulkhair, who is also in prison in Saudi Arabia in a gross violation of his human rights—and for their two brilliant and courageous wives, Ensaf Haidar and Samar Badawi, today is just another January 13, just another Friday. Just another Friday spent weighing the choice between daring to dream of freedom or not expending the energy in the risky business of dreaming.