Saudi-arabiske nyhetsmedier rapporterte i går at samvittighetsfangen Raif Badawi er blitt dømt til sju års fengsel og seks hundre piskeslag for å ha grunnlagt et nettsted som fremmer liberale tanker og er i strid med islamske verdier.
Raif Badawi, who started the «Free Saudi Liberals» website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, has been held since June 2012 on charges of cyber crime and disobeying his father – a crime in the conservative kingdom and top U.S. ally.
Al-Watan newspaper said the judge had also ordered the closure of the website.
France was concerned by the sentence and remained committed to «freedom of opinion and of expression», the foreign ministry said in a statement. Officials from the Saudi National Society for Human Rights could not be reached for comment.
Badawi’s website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures such as the Grand Mufti, according to Human Rights Watch.