For the first time after about three years in jail, Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who was sentenced to prison and flogging for “insulting Islam”, has managed to release a letter describing his ordeal.
The German daily Spiegel has published the letter, describing its author as a “brave and indomitable man”. In 2008, Badawi co-founded the Saudi Liberal Network. HE was arrested for the charge of apostasy in 2012 and last September, a Saudi court upheld his sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes to be spread out over 20 weeks during his imprisonment.
Badawi, aged 30, was flogged in January near Al Jafali mosque in front of a group of Friday mass worshippers. Eyewitnesses reported that Badawi made no sound.
In his letter, Badawi writes about surviving the lashings, which he calls “all these merciless pains only because I expressed my opinion.”
Badawai’s wife, currently living in Canada, says her husband’s health is in grave condition.
Badawi’s letter will be published in a book entitled One Thousand Lashes along with the contents of his banned blog.
The German foreign ministry has warned that publishing the book could cause a backlash, but Badawi and his wife believe that it will in fact protect his life and continue his struggle for his beliefs.