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Saudi freethinker sentenced to 7 years and 600 lashes

posted 1 Aug 2013, 01:52 by Exmuslim Nz
Raef Badawi was potentially facing a death sentence, for his actions. The BBC News website says "Raef Badawi, co-founded the Free Saudi Liberals website, an online forum for public debate.

He was arrested last year and convicted on Monday [29 July] of setting up a website that undermined general security.

Amnesty International considers Mr Badawi a political prisoner and has called for his immediate release.

Mr Badawi was originally charged with apostasy, or abandonment of religion, a crime in Saudi Arabia that carries with it the death penalty.

Lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair told the BBC that Mr Badawi, a father of three, had confirmed in court that he was a Muslim but told the judge 'everyone has a choice to believe or not believe.'

He was convicted of the charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and of ridiculing religious figures.

The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.

Mr Alkhair said the charges were over comments the activist posted calling for a relaxation of Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islam."
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