SAUDI ARABIA: PRISON, LASHES FOR LIBERAL SAUDI WEBSITE FOUNDER
July 30, 2013: The founder of a liberal minded website in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after angering Islamic authorities in the country, a newspaper reported.
Raif Badawi, through his website known as Free Saudi Liberals, had urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country, which follows a strict form of Islam that includes harsh punishments for challenging customs. A judge in the Red Sea port of Jiddah imposed the sentences but dropped charges of apostasy, which could have brought a death sentence, the Al Watan newspaper reported.
Badawi has been held since June 2012. The newspaper did not name the judge who sentenced Badawi, nor did it say when the ruling was handed down. It was unclear Tuesday (July 30) whether Badawi would receive any credit for the time heâs already served. (Sources: Agence France-Presse, 31/07/2013)