Target: Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec
Goal: Thank province for working to free activist imprisoned and flogged on trumped-up charges.
Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes with a whip, may soon join his wife and child in Canada. The province of Quebec has issued an “immigration selection certificate” to Badawi–a pass issued to foreigners in exceptional need of protection. The certificate will allow the Canadian government to pressure the Saudi government for the blogger’s release from prison and transport to Canada.
In 2008, Badawi founded a website dedicated to publishing alternative viewpoints and promoting political and religious dialogue. The website, called the Liberal Saudi Network, provided a safe haven on the internet for activists to share non-traditional views about matters important to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The website was shut down in 2012 when Badawi was arrested for publishing stories critical of politicians and insulting Islam.
Prior to his arrest, Badawi endured harassment at the hands of government officials. He was kept under constant surveillance, forbidden to leave the country, and had his assets frozen. He was sentenced in 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, but in a retrial had his sentence raised to 10 years and 1000 lashes. So far, Badawi has received 50 of the lashes, but is in such poor health that nearly half a year after the lashings, his wounds have not properly healed.
The conditions of Badawi’s imprisonment are unspeakably cruel and are a violation of international laws against torture. Without pressure from foreign governments, Badawi will likely die in prison. Sign the petition below to thank the province of Quebec for taking a stand against cruel corporal punishment.
Dear Premier Philippe Couillard,
Quebec recently issued an immigration selection certificate to Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger currently enduring imprisonment in terrible conditions in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Badawi was imprisoned on trumped-up charges of “insulting Islam” after creating a message board where young, progressive Saudis gathered to discuss politics and religion. He has been imprisoned for nearly two years and has received 50 lashings from which he has not healed due to his poor health.
Badawi’s conviction was an unfair attempt at silencing progressive attitudes toward politics and religion in Saudi Arabia, and the conditions of his detention remain cruel and torturous. We, the undersigned, thank you for your efforts to ensure that Raif Badawi is removed from the excruciating conditions he faces.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dan-Raoul Miranda