Saudi Blogger Faces Apostasy Charges, Could Be Executed

Saudi Blogger Faces Apostasy Charges
Photo by Anonymous Collective (Flickr)

A high court in Saudi Arabia has charged religious nonconformist and blogger Raif Badawi with apostasy. His wife Ensaf Haider, who now lives in Lebanon with their three children, said if convicted, he could be executed.

After he “liked” a facebook page for Arab Christians in June 2012, Badawi, who is the co-founder of the website Liberal Saudi Network, has been penalized by the legal system in Jeddah. After his ‘heinous act’, Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison.

According to Amnesty International, apostasy carries a death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Bawadi was initially charged with “insulting Islam and showing disobedience” but has since been charged with apostasy. Prior to this incident, Badawi was also penalized for sharing his liberal opinions on television. Saudi Arabian government officials could not be reached for their comments on the latest developments in Bawadi’s case.

According to Haider, Saudi authorities started harassing Badawi shortly after he started his website in 2008. Initially, he was detained and interrogated about his website, but it was not long before clerics labeled him as an apostate and an unbeliever. According to human rights organizations, Saudi authorities often target individuals who try to debate over issues that locals have to cope with in their daily lives.

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