Even as global outrage was pouring out over the horrifying massacre of Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris last week, our friends and allies in Saudi Arabia were following through on corporal punishment of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. In 2012, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" and "spreading liberal thoughts," and fined the equivalent of $260,000. Badawi also will be given 1,000 lashes in public. The first 50 were given a few days ago, even as the Saudi government condemned Islamist violence.
Badawi was cleared of apostasy charges, which would have carried a death sentence. "The evidence against him included the fact that he pressed the "Like" button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians," noted the BBC in 2013.
Here is illegal cellphone footage of the flogging, which is as much a ritualized public humiliation as a specifically physical punishment (though it is certainly that).
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