Postponement of Raif Badawi flogging on medical grounds exposes shocking brutality of punishment

Amnesty International has received information indicating that the flogging of Raif Badawi has not been carried out today on medical grounds. 

Raif Badawi was removed from his jail cell this morning and taken to the prison clinic for a medical check-up before his sentence was due to be carried out. The doctor 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. He recommended that the flogging should be postponed until next week. It is unclear whether the authorities will fully comply with this demand. 

“Not only does this postponement on health grounds expose the utter brutality of this punishment, it underlines its outrageous inhumanity. The notion that Raif Badawi must be allowed to heal so that he can suffer this cruel punishment again and again is macabre and outrageous. Flogging should not be carried out under any circumstances,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“Flogging is prohibited under international law along with other forms of corporal punishment. His flogging appears to have been postponed for now but there is no way of knowing whether Saudi Arabia’s authorities will fully comply with the doctor’s advice. Raif Badawi is still at immediate risk.”

The flogging has prompted an international outcry with supporters from across the world including Amnesty International members rallying to protest against Raif Badawi’s flogging and to campaign for him to be immediately and unconditionally released as he is a prisoner of conscience. 

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