Saudi activist's flogging delayed on medical grounds, his wife says
A friend calls the delay "definitely encouraging"
A Saudi Arabian rights activist sentenced to prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam will not be flogged Friday because of medical reasons, his wife said.
Raif Badawi, convicted on charges that included insulting Islam, had been scheduled to receive the second of 20 sentenced floggings after Friday prayers in Jeddah. He received the first flogging on January 9.
A doctor who examined him before the scheduled flogging determined that his wounds had not yet healed and that the flogging should be delayed, human rights group Amnesty International said.
“The doctor concluded that the wounds had not yet healed properly and that he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes at this time,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haida, said from her home in Canada that she expects the floggings to resume next Friday.
One of his friends, Ali Rizvi, said from Toronto that the delay is “definitely encouraging.”
“None of us are completely satisfied,” he told CNN’s “New Day.”
“This is the Saudi regime,” he said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen from here onwards, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
Rights groups and others, including the U.S. State Department, have called for Saudi Arabia to call off the floggings, the first of which appeared to be captured on unverified cell phone video uploaded to YouTube.
“Not only does this postponement on health grounds expose the utter brutality of this punishment, it underlines its outrageous inhumanity,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s deputy Middle East and North Africa program director.
Badawi was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes after creating an online forum in 2008 that his wife says was meant to encourage discussion about faith.