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Blogger's Wounds Delay 2nd Round of 50 Lashes

Raif Badawi sentenced to 1K in all, on top of 10 years in prison
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2015 1:13 PM CST
Updated Jan 16, 2015 7:56 AM CST

(Newser) – A Saudi Arabian blogger and rights activist was set to receive his second set of 50 lashes today, but the flogging has been delayed. Raif Badawi, whose crime was creating a blog perceived as a slight to Islam, got his first 50 lashes last Friday, and Saudi Arabia planned to give him 50 each Friday until he reaches a total of 1,000—but a doctor examined him and "concluded that the wounds had not yet healed properly and that he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes at this time," Amnesty International says in a statement provided to CNN. He was sentenced to the flogging is in addition to a 10-year prison sentence and a fine equivalent to about $250,000—unless Saudi Arabia backs down amid a growing international outcry, reports the Guardian.

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All that for creating a now-defunct blog called Free Saudi Liberals to debate political and social issues. The delay is "encouraging," says one of Badawi's friends, but the blogger's wife says she expects the floggings to continue a week from today. “Raif told me he is in a lot of pain after his flogging—his health is poor and I'm certain he will not be able to cope with another round of lashes,” she told Amnesty International before today's flogging was delayed. The human rights group is trying raise pressure on the Saudi government, which last week was on the other side of the free-speech debate when it condemned the murder of the Charlie Hebdo editors, also accused of insulting Islam. In fact, the Independent notes that at a Paris rally, one woman borrowed the sentiment of "I am Charlie" and held a sign reading, "I am Raif Badawi." (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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