Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court is again reviewing the case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, raising the possibility that his draconian sentence may be reduced, his family has told The Independent.
Mr Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar said she had been informed of the development by a senior source in the Saudi Ministry of Justice. The blogger’s family said they were hopeful that the move by the kingdom’s highest court is a “good signal” that his sentence is under reconsideration.
Mr Badawi was arrested in June 2012 after criticising the kingdom’s clerics through his Saudi Arabian Liberals website and was later sentenced to a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes. His treatment has been repeatedly condemned by governments around the world.
Earlier this year the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the sentence, suggesting that Mr Badawi’s only remaining hope was a royal pardon. But last month confusion arose when the UK Foreign Office minister, Tobias Ellwood, told the House of Commons that his case was again being examined by Saudi judges. After trying for several weeks, his family say they have now established that this is true.
“We confirmed today that my husband Raif Badawi’s case has been returned to the Supreme Court,” Ms Haidar wrote in an email to The Independent. “The case now is under discussion again.”
While he has been in prison, the 31-year-old activist has received a number of awards for promoting freedom of expression and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Human rights groups have called for a concerted international effort to secure his freedom.
Source: The Independent, August 12, 2015
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