Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes is ‘very depressed’ says wifeJanuary 8, 2019
Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes is ‘very depressed’ and seriously ill says his wife on fourth anniversary of his flogging
- Raif Badawi, 34, received 50 lashes in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in January 2015
- He was supposed to get 50 a week for 20 weeks but were suspended after first
- Mr Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar and children were granted asylum by Canada
- Ms Haidar said: ‘He has problems with his kidneys and psychology is very bad’
The wife of a Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison fears he is on the brink of death ahead of the fourth anniversary of his brutal public flogging.
Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 and convicted in May 2014 of insulting Islam after criticising the kingdom’s powerful clerics on a blog he founded in a case that sparked an international backlash.
In January 2015, he received 50 lashes before a crowd of hundreds of people in Jeddah and this was supposed to continue with 50 a week for 20 weeks.
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Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, 34, pictured, was convicted in May 2014 of insulting Islam and was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison
His wife Ensaf Haidar, pictured in 2015, has revealed that her imprisoned husband is severely depressed and making plans for when he dies
Further floggings were suspended after he almost died from his first round of lashes and criticism from the EU, United States, Canada, the UN and more. But the 34-year-old, who turns 35 next week, remains imprisoned.
His wife, Ensaf Haidar, who lives with their children in Canada, has been campaigning for her husband’s freedom ever since.
Last year, she had held out hopes for a royal pardon after a human rights group in Riyadh held talks with European lawmaker Josef Weidenholzer.
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Now, in an exclusive interview ahead of the fourth anniversary of her husband’s public flogging, she revealed that Badawi is severely depressed and making plans for when he dies.
‘Raif is very depressed,’ she said.
‘He informed me that if he died, he wants his body shipped to Quebec so his soul will stay in peace.’
Mr Bawadi was flogged in front of a crowd of hundreds of people in Jeddah. Pictured: leaked video footage taken on a mobile phone showed the beating in January 2015
She added: ‘He is sick, he has problems with his kidneys and his psychology is very bad.’
Ms Haidar added that she remains in the dark about her husband’s case as authorities in Saudi Arabia have not given her any information.
‘We haven’t heard anything about his legal status because everything is secret in his case,’ she said.
She has been forced to raise her three children – aged 10, 13 and 14 – with Badawi as a single mother.
Although she and her children have become Canadian citizens after the country granted them asylum, she says the whole family’s mental state is not good.
‘Their psychological situation is bad. There are no words to explain it,’ she added.
In the spring of last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his ‘serious concern’ over the continued jailing of Badawi to the kingdom’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz in a call.
Ms Haidar has been forced to raise her three children aged 10, 13 and 14, pictured with their father Mr Badawi, as a single mother in Canada where they have been given asylum
Ms Haidar, pictured at her book launch in June 2015, also revealed that she remains in the dark about her husband’s case as authorities in Saudi Arabia have not given her any information
Since then, Badawi’s case has since become the heart of a diplomatic dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Last August, the kingdom froze new trade with Canada, expelled Canada’s ambassador and ordered all Saudi students to return home.
It came after Canada urged the kingdom to release activists detained for calling for more rights for women, including his sister Samar Badawi, a prominent women’s rights campaigner.
She was honoured by the US State Department in 2012 with an International Women in Courage Award.
Her brother Raif had co-founded the Saudi Liberal Network Internet discussion group.
The group promoted free speech and sought an end to the influence of religious leaders on public life in one of the most conservative countries in the world.
It comes as Saudi Arabia continues to face the ramifications over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
The Washington Post journalist, a critic of the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year.
US intelligence agencies believe the crown prince ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi, whose body was dismembered inside the consulate and then removed.
But Saudi officials have denied accusations that the prince ordered the murder.
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